Coma Emergence Program

St Elias Specialty Hospital Coma Emergence ProgramPatients who are in a coma are literally trapped inside their bodies and unaware of their environments. This is considered to be a very vulnerable period of time following a brain injury. The type of care a patient receives at this point is critical.

The Staff at St. Elias Specialty Hospital has an approach to coma emergence that includes activities to stimulate the comatose patient and counteract the adverse effect of the sensory deprivation the patient has experienced since lapsing into the comatose state. Upon admission, the therapists immediately try to engage the patient. There is also the added important step of working on range of motion activities and working on cognitive ability to help the patient reach his or her fullest recovery potential.

The Coma Emergence Program uses the Rancho Los Amigos Cognitive Scale. Revised for initial and continual assessment, treatment planning and discharge planning.

St. Elias has many success stories because of the approach to aggressive rehabilitation by an alert staff. The coordinated efforts of the team including physicians, speech, occupational, and physical therapists, highly-skilled nurses, pharmacists, and dietitians have helped many severely brain-injured patients become alert and responsive to their environments.

We know that family members consider news of a family member in a coma often to be devastating and confusing. Families usually feel helpless and don't know what the optimal choices are regarding the best choices for their loved ones. At St. Elias, we feel that incorporating the family into the care team often helps them to adjust with the suddenness of the illness or injury and also can be therapeutic to them and the patient who is recovering. Family members are encouraged to observe, participate and attend educational sessions regarding the patient's therapy.


St. Elias Hospital

4800 Cordova Street

Anchorage, AK  99503


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Phone Numbers

(907) 561-3333: Main

(907) 561-3332: Fax

(907) 565-CARE  (2275): Patient Referral



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