If you have to choose care for an unresponsive loved one with a severe brain injury, you may feel you are being asked to make decisions without concrete information. Brain injury is a highly complex condition that affects each patient differently and creates a level of uncertainty in planning for the future. You may hear terms such as “vegetative state” or “minimally conscious” without fully understanding how they apply to your loved one.
You want to make the right decision for your loved one’s care. The physicians and therapists in the Brain Injury Medicine and Rehabilitation Program at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) can help. The AbilityLab is a nationally recognized leader in brain injury medicine and rehabilitation and a leading expert in assessment of minimally conscious state, so you can feel confident in your care decisions.
The AMiCouS program is designed specifically to assess brain injured patients in a minimally conscious state. The program aims to identify the best next steps early on and assist in making a smooth transition to the next phase of care, whether that is at home with loved ones or in a skilled care setting.
The Goals of the Program
- Determine a patient’s level of consciousness and responsiveness
- Advise on medical stability for continued care
- Optimize his or her medication regimen
- Ensure he or she is provided with medical equipment properly
- Educate the patient’s family and caregivers about their loved one’s condition and ongoing care
Brain injury affects each patient differently; no two cases are the same. There are many factors that contribute to a patient’s consideration for the AMiCouS program and no single determining criterion. Patients that have been diagnosed with a brain injury (both traumatic and non-traumatic), assessed as being in a “minimally conscious” or “vegetative” state, and are clinically stable enough to potentially benefit from intensive rehabilitation care will be considered for the AMiCouS program.