Exploring Factors Influencing Occupational Therapists' Perception of Patients' Rehabilitation Potential After Acquired Brain Injury

When formulating a treatment plan for patients who have experienced acquired brain injury (ABI), rehabilitation professionals are encouraged to screen individual patient traits to determine which services they require. However, not much has been studied about the specific role of occupational therapists in this screening process.

A recent Canadian study explored the factors that influence occupational therapist assessments of ABI patients and their perception of each patient’s recovery potential. Researchers conducted the TRIAGE (Technique for Research of Information by Animation of a Group), which allows them to gather expert opinions on rehabilitation services, on a panel of twelve occupational therapists. Over a two-and-a-half-hour period, the participants were asked to form a consensus about the major factors impacting occupational therapists’ perception of ABI patients. They agreed on eleven of the most important patient-related factors to consider, including:

  • Age
  • Behavior
  • Cognitive and physical abilities
  • Endurance
  • Medical status
  • Home environment
  • Improvement in care post-injury
  • Pre- and post-injury functioning
  • Patient and family expectations


Overall, assessing an ABI patient’s potential for rehabilitation is a process that involves more than surface-level observations about the individual. An assessment of occupational and environmental factors plays an integral role in the rehabilitation process, and certain patient factors may play a more important role in forming these insights. The rehabilitation team should therefore take care to assess home environment, expectations, and other occupational factors when developing the rehabilitation plan.

Wai Shun PL, Bottari C, Oguourtsova T, et al. Exploring factors influencing occupational therapists’ perception of patients’ rehabilitation potential after acquired brain injury. Australian Occupational Therapy. (September 2016).

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