Disorders of Consciousness

Emerging Consciousness Program

A severe brain injury can lead to altered consciousness, in which patients have severely impaired levels of responsiveness, awareness and ability to engage in the environment. For nearly 30 years, Spectrum Health has provided an accredited brain injury program specifically focused on patients with a “disorder of consciousness,” such as coma, vegetative (unresponsive wakefulness) or minimally conscious states. Although these patients are not ready for a traditional inpatient rehabilitation program, they can significantly benefit from a program that is highly specialized to treat patients with emerging consciousness.

The Emerging Consciousness program provides care to people who:

• Are not yet able to communicate or follow commands
• Are starting to follow commands, but are very inconsistent with this ability
• Have medical and physical complexities that may arise out of severe brain injury and need a team with specialized knowledge to monitor and manage these conditions

Personalized Care Plan

Our team will develop personalized goals and provide education and support to family members and caregivers.

As appropriate, family members and caregivers will be involved in the rehabilitation process. Once we determine the level of consciousness using evidence-based assessment protocols, our goal is to improve this level of alertness through medications and therapeutic interventions.

We will address spasticity (tight muscles) to maximize the potential for functional recovery and develop a mobility program and supporting seating system to promote awareness and maximize emerging functional abilities. We will also work to develop any potential communication mechanisms. Another goal is to reduce the risk of hospital readmissions by preventing secondary complications, such as respiratory conditions and skin issues.

Our Care Team

• Internal Medicine Physician
• Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician Neuropsychologist
• Nurse and Nurse Aide
• Respiratory Therapist
• Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapists
• Recreational Therapist
• Neurologic Music Therapist
• Social Worker
• Case Manager

The Emerging Consciousness Program is offered at the Spectrum Health Inpatient Rehabilitation at our Kalamazoo Avenue Rehab and Nursing Center. This location is one of five skilled-nursing-facility-based rehabilitation programs in the country to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Programs (CARF) as a brain injury specialty program.

This program is recognized by the national Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists as an Alliance Member, reflecting our program’s commitment to staff training and excellence in care through this national certification process.