Current Sensory Stimulation Practices for Individuals in Coma or Vegetative State

Date of Graduation

Summer 1995


Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders


Communication Sciences and Disorders

Committee Chair

Ronald Netsell


The need for efficient intervention strategies for brain injured patients is increasing. Approximately ten percent of all patients hospitalized for severe brain injuries remain in coma with minimal response to the environment. In the present study, a questionnaire was used to survey health care professionals in United States rehabilitation facilities regarding sensory stimulation treatment for unresponsive patients. Responding clinicians generally agreed that sensory stimulation was helpful in increasing awareness and/or arousal in many unresponsive patients. In addition, and contrary to previous reports, more than 70 percent of the survey respondents agreed that sensory stimulation treatment is beneficial for patients in vegetative states as well as coma. However, 90 percent of the respondents reported that formal stimulation programs are discontinued if no improvement in awareness is observed following six weeks of treatment.

Subject Categories

Communication Sciences and Disorders


© Emlyn Ann Gardner