This session will introduce participants to newly developed national minimal competency guidelines for programs caring for persons with disorders of consciousness (DOC). There has recently been a growing interest in caring for people with disorders of consciousness and an increasing number of programs dedicated to the care of these patients have been established in the last several years. At the same time, our knowledge about DOC has mushroomed in the last decade and the DOC programs at many rehabilitation facilities may not reflect the latest knowledge about the care of these patients. Recognizing both the interest as well as potential knowledge gap, several national organizations (including the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and NIDRR/VA TBI Model Systems) recently completed a multi-year project developing evidence-based minimal competency guidelines for the care of these patients. These guidelines address all aspects of care of these patients including diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and ethical issues. This session: (1) introduces participants to the minimal competency guidelines by leaders of the task force that developed them and (2) provides a concrete example of how one DOC program has interpreted and implemented these guidelines.Introduction (Kothari)Overview and Guidelines I (Whyte)Guidelines II and Next Steps (Nakase-Richardson)Implementation: Representative Program (Kothari)

Learning Objectives

  • Summarize the content of recently developed minimal competency guidelines for the care of patients with disorders of consciousness
  • Discuss the evidence base that supports and underlies these guidelines
  • Describe how these guidelines can be concretely implemented in actual practice