The 10 Stages of Brain Injury Recovery

Doctors treating head injuries at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in California needed a way to measure a patient’s recovery from a coma or loss of neurological function. Over time, they developed the RLAS-R, or the revised Rancho Los Amigos Scale. The RLAS-R grades a persona’s behavioral function on a 1–10 scale to track their recovery. Today, it’s a standard scale for many head trauma rehabilitation providers.

On today’s blog, we’re talking about the RLAS-R and the bearing it has on a person’s quality of life.

Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury in 10 Stages

The presumption of the RLAS-R is simple: the healthier a patient’s response to external stimuli, the better their cognitive function must be. As a result, the first few stages exclusively focus on a patient’s response, gradually moving onto their memory, communication, identity, and higher levels of cognitive function. The RLAS-R not only measures sub-optimal to normal levels of function (levels 1–8), but also optimal levels of function (level 9–10).

The levels of the RLAS-R are the following:

  • Level 1: No response to external stimuli
  • Level 2: Response is intermittent, with the same response to all stimuli
  • Level 3: Response is inconsistent but specific to different stimuli
  • Level 4: Patient exhibits agitation and lack of short-term memory
  • Level 5: Patient responds consistently and with less agitation, albeit still confused
  • Level 6: Capacity for learning tasks with a growing sense of self and environment
  • Level 7: Capable of daily routine tasks, requires minimal supervision
  • Level 8: Oriented to person, place, and time, though often depressed and irritable
  • Level 9: Capable of shifting between tasks and performing independently
  • Level 10: Capable of independent decision-making and multitasking

The RLAS-R & Your Loved One’s Future

Not every patient fully recovers from a brain injury. If your loved one’s maximum recovery is on the lower end of the Rancho Los Amigos Scale, they may require daily assistance or even 24-hour care for the rest of their lives. The RLAS-R scale is a clinical way of measuring how an injury will impact your life and the life of your loved one for the long term, from the cost of medical assistance to the quality of life your loved one will experience.

Tools like these don’t just have healthcare implications; they also have implications for what you’re owed if your loved one’s injury was caused by negligence. When someone is injured by another party, the cost of care should be fully covered by the party at fault. The lower the RLAS-R score, the more resources your loved one will need. It’s that simple.

To learn your legal and medical options after an accident, speak with Clayton, Frugé & Ward today at (225) 209-9943 for a free consultation. We’re happy to help.