Jurisprudence over the past few decades has attached significant legal consequences to whether patients are in a chronic vegetative state or a minimally conscious state. But the confidence of such diagnoses has been questioned.
Patients are misdiagnosed 40% of the time, often due to underlying impairments that can mask awareness. And misdiagnosis may result in premature or inappropriate treatment withdrawal, failure to recommend beneficial rehabilitative treatments.
The Guideline Development, Dissemination, and Implementation Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology; the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine; and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research have published “Practice Guideline Update Recommendations Summary: Disorders of Consciousness.”
The subcommittee provides 18 care recommendations for patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness (DoC).