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Brain Inj. 2014;28(3):318-22. doi: 10.3109/02699052.2013.860478.

The management of agitation among inpatients in a brain injury rehabilitation unit.

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  • 1Aging, Rehabilitation and Geriatric Care Research Centre, St. Joseph's Health Care, Parkwood Hospital , London, ON , Canada .



Agitation post-acquired brain injury (ABI) is common and should be appropriately managed to optimize the patients' rehabilitation progress. The objective of this study was to assess how agitation is managed in current practice on an ABI rehabilitation unit.


A retrospective chart audit was conducted of patients admitted to an ABI rehabilitation unit to assess current practices. All information pertaining to agitation was abstracted from the patients' medical chart (e.g. behavioural incidences, medication information and behavioural outcome measures). The Agitated Behavior Scale (ABS) was the only assessment tool regularly utilized and, therefore, its use was evaluated.


A total of 102 patient charts were reviewed. Fifty-one patients received medication for agitated behaviour. The ABS was administered to 28 patients; a total of 124 ABS tests were completed for these patients. Twenty-one of the 28 individuals never scored outside the 'normal' range; however, medications were given to 50%.


The ABS and similar behavioural tools allow for a patient's behavioural patterns to be monitored and care plans to be created and executed according to evidence-based practices. There is a need to educate on the proper use and interpretation of assessment tools in order to improve care.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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