Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness (PDOC)

What is a Prolonged Disorder of Consciousness?

A disorder of consciousness, or impaired consciousness, is a state where consciousness has been affected by damage to the brain. This could be as a result of a traumatic brain injury, stroke or other cause of damage to the brain.

Prolonged Disorders of Consciousness

How can we help?

Access to Rehab have many years experience of working with individuals in a Prolonged Disorder of Consciousness. We are able to carry out detailed assessments including the Sensory Modality Assessment and Rehabilitation Technique (SMART) to establish a diagnosis and guide the ongoing treatment and management of the individual.

Individuals in PDOC have a complex array of needs and we are able to assess these and provide a comprehensive plan to help and manage these issues. We are able to provide postural assessments, 24 hour postural management programmes, splinting for contractures, sensory stimulation programmes and to monitor change over time, as well as supporting family members and carers.

Types of disorders of consciousness:


Is when a person shows no signs of being awake and no signs of being aware.

Vegetative State

A vegetative state is when a person is awake but is showing no signs of awareness. A person in a vegetative state may open their eyes, wake up and fall asleep at regular intervals and have basic reflexes (such as blinking when they’re startled by loud noise or withdrawing their hand when it’s squeezed hard). They are also able to regulate their heartbeat and breathing without assistance.

Minimally Conscious State

A person who shows clear but minimal or inconsistent awareness is classified as being in a minimally conscious state. They may have periods where they can communicate or respond to commands, such as moving a finger when asked. A person may enter a minimally conscious state after being in a coma or vegetative state.