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Open Access Open Badges Protocol

Effect of rehabilitation length of stay on outcomes in individuals with traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury: a systematic review protocol

Marie-Eve Lamontagne1*, Cynthia Gagnon2, Anne-Sophie Allaire1 and Luc Noreau1

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration, Institut de réadaptation en déficience physique de Québec, 525, boul. Wilfrid-Hamel, Québec, QC, G1M 2S8, Canada

2 Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les maladies neuromusculaires (GRIMN), Neuromuscular Clinic, Centre de réadaptation en déficience physique de Jonquière, 2230, rue de l’Hôpital, C. P. 1200, Jonquière, QC, G7X 7X2, Canada

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Systematic Reviews 2013, 2:59  doi:10.1186/2046-4053-2-59

Published: 20 July 2013



Rehabilitation interventions are a key component of the services required by individuals with neurotrauma to recover or compensate for altered abilities and achieve optimal social participation. Primary studies have produced evidence of the effect of rehabilitation length of stay on individuals with neurotrauma. However, to date no systematic review of this evidence has been performed. This makes it difficult for managers and clinicians to base their rehabilitation practices upon evidence.


Supported by a committee of stakeholders, we will search electronic databases for research articles examining the association between length of stay or intensity of inpatient rehabilitation services and outcomes or the determinants of inpatient rehabilitation length of stay in adults with neurotrauma published after January 1990. Two researchers will independently screen the article titles and abstracts for inclusion. Two reviewers will independently extract the data. Primary outcomes of interest will be level of function, participation and return to work. If the data allow it, a meta-analysis of the studies will be performed.


The results of this systematic review will clarify the factors that influence length of stay and intensity of rehabilitation services for individuals with TBI and SCI. They will give clinicians indications for optimal length of stay in these patient populations, contributing to better quality of care and better functional results.

Systematic review registration

This review protocol has been registered on the PROSPERO database (CRD42012003120) and is available at webcite.

Brain injury; Spinal cord injury; Length of stay; Rehabilitation; Systematic review