What Factors Affect Outcome After a Brain Injury?

Everything affects the outcome after a TBI -- from the severity of the injury to the ongoing support of family, friends, and community.

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In terms of the factors that affect outcome, there is injury severity. And usually that means if your child was injured--and you have what is called a Glasgow Coma Scale, which is a measure of how deeply comatose you are. With a Glasgow Coma Scale of 8 or less--you can't get any lower than 3, by the way, in the Glasgow Coma Scale, because then you're dead. So a Glasgow Coma Scale of 3, you're pretty deeply in a coma. And children and adults with Glasgow Coma Scales of 3 and stay at a very low level for a long period of time tend not to do as well, because it's an indication that they have had more brain damage and more areas of the brain are injured. Other factors include other comorbid medical problems that can occur like depression, seizures, hormonal problems. Then one of the key factors is how well is the family and friends being able to interact and support that person. How well is the community adapting and supporting the person? And then how well can the person with the brain injury end up feeling good about themselves and happy that they're doing something that is meaningful to them, meaningful to society, and feeling that they're loved and that they have someone to love them. I think when you have that you tend to be successful.
Posted on BrainLine June 8, 2010.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Brian King, BrainLine.

About the author: Jane Gillett, MD

Dr. Jane Gillett was a neurologist certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in both pediatric and adult neurology. She created and developed the Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Community Outreach Program, Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario. She died in 2011.

Dr. Jane Gillett