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The Agitated Patient with Brain Injury and the Rehabilitation Staff: Bridging the Gap of Misunderstanding


  • Paula Montgomery BSN RN CRRN,

    Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Paula Montgomery is coordinator of nursing development at Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Institute in Milwaukee.

  • Mary Kitten MSN RN CRRN,

  • Christy Niemiec OTR

    Search for more papers by this author
    • Christy Niemiec is Senior Occupational Therapist Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Institute in Milwaukee.

  • Mary Kitten is Assistant Professor of Nursing Alverno College in Milwaukee.

Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Institute, E Facility, Room 2711, PO Box 392, Milwaukee, WI53201-0392.


Patients with brain injury at the agitated stage of recovery present a unique challenge to rehabilitation staff. The staff's patience is tested, and their personal comfort is threatened frequently during their interactions with patients. How can a healthcare team increase its comfort level and competence when working with these patients? Rehabilitation specialty programs work effectively when all staff members are competent to understand and meet the daily challenges of working with their patients. An educational program about agitated patients with brain injury targeted to certified nursing assistants carried over to the staff's job performance and to increased staff confidence.