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Pediatr Phys Ther. 2003 Spring;15(1):16-22.

Item-specific functional recovery in children and youth with acquired brain injury.

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Rehabilitation Hospital of Rhode Island, Providence, RI, USA.



The purpose of this study was to examine changes in item-specific functional activities and caregiver support in children and youths with acquired brain injury (ABI) in an inpatient setting using the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI).


The PEDI was administered by therapy staff at admission and discharge to a consecutive sample of 94 children and youths with brain injury (62 males and 32 females; age range = one to 19 years of age) admitted to the inpatient service at Franciscan Children's Hospital and Rehabilitation Center during a two-year, 10-month period. Individual PEDI item scores were abstracted from the medical records.


Using the Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed rank test (two-tailed), significant differences between admission and discharge scores were found for most mobility, self-care, and social activity item groups and for all domains of caregiver support. Patterns of activity-specific improvements were contrasted between children with traumatic ABI and those with nontraumatic ABI.


Recovery in children with ABI can be detected during inpatient rehabilitation across many areas of functioning as represented by item content of the PEDI. Changes at the item level may serve as a guide for defining specific physical therapy goals for inpatient episodes. Item groups in which changes are not detected provide information about sections of the PEDI that are less relevant for hospital-based recovery of children with ABI.

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