Offering diagnosis and treatment of communication, hearing, and swallowing disorders
Published: May 10, 2011
Updated: Nov. 3, 2011
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) provide rehabilitative services to patients who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI). The main focus of this rehabilitation is cognitive-communication therapy.
Recovery is a slow process, especially with severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Television programs and movies that show people waking up from a coma quickly and behaving normally are not generally realistic.
Research has shown that people demonstrate a predictable pattern of behaviors and abilities when awakening or recovering from TBI. These stages are described by the Rancho Los Amigo Scale or Rancho Levels of Cognitive Functioning.
This scale is used by the medical team to identify, document, and communicate patient progress. By understanding these levels, you will also have a better understanding of what your child with TBI is going through and what to expect.
This scale is a guide and although the pattern is the same, patients can vary in howlong they spend in each stage or whether they skip stages entirely. No one can say how long a person will be in each stage, but therapists and participation in rehabilitation can help patients move to the next stage.
The Rancho Scale can usually be applied to children seven years of age or older, although it has been used with children as young as four years old. The following are descriptions of eight stages and suggestions for things family can do or expect at each stage.
Select a link below to learn how patients react at a certain level of cognition and how friends and family can help support the patient at each stage of recovery.