Clinician perspectives on decision-making capacity after acquired brain injury.
ABSTRACT Acquired brain injury frequently alters an individual's ability to make health care decisions based on a clear understanding of the situation and options. This exploratory study investigated the ways health care providers address issues of decisionmaking capacity (DMC) on a daily, functional basis. 33 clinicians providing rehabilitation services to persons with acquired brain injury participated in 1 of 5 semi-structured focus groups. All 33 participants, representing 8 different occupations, agreed that DMC determinations affected their practice every day. Participants underscored a multidimensional rather than a unitary definition of DMC, with an emphasis on fluctuating capacities due to the injury. Important concerns were for the safety of the person with brain injury, the health care provider, and community members. Other themes included rehabilitation team involvement, family context, and professional socialization. Clinical determinations of DMC are context dependent and are affected by the abilities of the individual and the substance and consequences of the decision being made and include the concepts of regaining trust and reclaiming capacity.
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To identify cognitive predictors of medical decision-making capacity (MDC) in participants with traumatic brain injury (TBI) at time of acute injury (baseline) and at six-month follow-up. PARTICIPANTS: At baseline, participants were 34 adults with moderate to severe TBI and 20 healthy adults. At six-month follow-up, participants were 24 adults with moderate to severe TBI and 20 normal adults. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Participants were administered a consent capacity instrument (Capacity to Consent to Treatment Instrument: CCTI) and neuropsychological test measures. In the TBI group, univariate and multivariate cognitive predictor models were developed at baseline and six-month follow-up for clinically relevant CCTI consent abilities/standards (S) of understanding (S5); reasoning (S4); and appreciation (S3). RESULTS: At baseline, measures of short-term verbal memory and semantic fluency predicted TBI group performance on understanding (S5); short-term verbal memory and attention predicted performance on reasoning (S4); and working memory predicted performance on appreciation (S3). Regarding six-month follow-up models, measures of basic executive function, verbal processing speed, and working memory predicted TBI performance on understanding (S5); working memory and short-term memory predicted reasoning (S4); and basic executive functioning predicted appreciation (S3). CONCLUSIONS: Multiple cognitive functions are associated with acute impairment and partial recovery of MDC in patients with moderate to severe TBI. Short-term verbal memory was strongly associated with impairments in consent capacity in TBI participants at the time of acute inpatient hospitalization. As patients experience cognitive and functional recovery post-hospitalization, executive functioning and working memory abilities were associated with improved capacity at six-month follow-up. The results offer insight into the relationship between different standards of competency and cognitive changes and recovery following acute TBI.Rehabilitation Psychology 11/2008; 53(4):486-497. · 1.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: A current need exists for research to assist clinicians in the capacity evaluation process, especially in relation to assessment of clients with complex issues such as fluctuating capacity and communication barriers. The aim of this article is to promote knowledge and consideration of these issues through an examination of neuropsychological, ethical, and medical-legal factors associated with the assessment of capacity in an individual with both fluctuating capacity and communication impairments. The discussion includes a narrative case study of a complex individual case seen by the Regional Capacity Assessment Team (RCAT) for an assessment of decision-making capacity related to personal and financial matters. Relevant background information about this client, behavioral observations, neuropsychological test results, and the process and outcome of the RCAT targeted capacity interview are presented. Based on previous literature and the case study, a series of recommendations are provided to guide the clinician through the capacity evaluation process with individuals with complex issues. Common pitfalls, nuances, and dilemmas involved in capacity assessment are addressed.Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation 19(1):75-85. · 0.79 Impact Factor