Doctors Lack Tools to Assess Self-Awareness After TBI

Woman Looking out of a Window

self awareness tbiDoctors and rehabilitation professionals understand that a person's ability to be accurately aware of his abilities and challenges is frequently impaired after a moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury. It is also well understood that impaired self-awareness can become a barrier to rehabilitation and recovery. Despite this understanding, however, clinicians still find it challenging to diagnose and treat impaired self-awareness.

In order to better understand this challenge, a recent study conducted a survey of 163 clinicians who provide rehabilitation support for people with traumatic brain injury. They found that:

  • Around 70% considered accurate self-awareness to be important to the course and success of rehabilitation efforts
  • Almost 96% reported using an assessment of their patients' self-awareness impairment
  • Only 7% reported using a standardized tool for assessing self-awareness
  • The most common tools used were the Awareness Questionnaire and the Patient Competency Rating Scale

One of the difficulties that clinicians face when assessing self-awareness is the lack of standardized tools that accurately and reliably measure the patient's self awareness in daily activities. The development of a tool that captures information about awareness that is more relevant to daily rehabilitation efforts is needed.

Winkens I, Van Heugten CM, Visser-Meily JM, et al. Impaired self-awareness after acquired brain injury: Clinicians' ratings on its assessment and importance for rehabilitation. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. (April 2014).