Early rehabilitation of Disorders of Consciousness (DOC): management, neuropsychological evaluation and treatment

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In order to ensure the best possible rehabilitation plan and best outcome for patients with Disorders of Consciousness (DOC), optimal management of the early phase of rehabilitation is fundamental. This includes a correct diagnosis, accurate assessment of the patient's state of alertness and the main comorbidities, appropriate neurophysiological and neuroradiology examinations, and education of the caregiver and family so that they can provide the best assistance. Thirty years ago, specialists first began applying a systematic approach to the rehabilitation of patients with DOC, but still today many problems remain unsolved: the rate of misdiagnosis is still high, and recommendations about the most appropriate mode of rehabilitation are lacking, both as regards the timing of interventions and what the best techniques to use are. In a medical sector where nosography has changed over the last decade and where the documented evidence, though increasing, still remains insufficient, we discuss in this brief review the main assessment tools and disability scales to use and the key issues that need to be considered when a patient with DOC is admitted to the rehabilitation unit and decisions about the early rehabilitation plan are made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1319-1330
Number of pages12
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Consciousness Disorders/complications
  • Humans
  • Neurological Rehabilitation/methods
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Time Factors


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