Faculty Advisor(s)

Amy J. Litterini

Document Type

Course Paper

Publication Date



© 2017 Victoria Perez


Background and Purpose: Bacterial meningitis is acute inflammation of the meninges which can result in significant morbidity and mortality. There are 15,000 to 25,000 cases of bacterial meningitis in the United States yearly and it is one of the top ten causes of infection-related deaths worldwide. Bacterial Meningitis is commonly complicated by encephalitis. The purpose of the case report is to describe physical therapy (PT) rehabilitation in the intensive care unit (ICU) with the goal of increasing the independence of the patient, diagnosed with encephalitis secondary to bacterial meningitis, to prior level of function through task-oriented training in order to be safely discharged to an inpatient rehabilitation unit (IRU). Case Description: The patient was a 52-year-old female who was transferred to the ICU with encephalitis secondary to pneumococcal meningitis. The patient presented with generalized weakness, deconditioning, impaired cognition and problem solving, impaired balance, dizziness that interfered with function, and limited independence with all functional mobility. Task-oriented training was utilized to combat the patient’s limitations, including bed mobility, transfers, and ambulation over eight non-consecutive PT sessions. Outcomes: After eight out of eleven scheduled PT sessions, the patient progressed from maximum assistance of two people for all functional mobility tasks (bed mobility, transfers, ambulation) to minimal assistance of one person. Discussion: The use of task-oriented training appears to have been beneficial in decreasing the patient’s burden of care as she was discharged from the ICU and transferred to the IRU. Future research is required as there is limited evidence on rehabilitation interventions to treat encephalopathy secondary to bacterial meningitis, as well as guidance in predicting the PT prognosis of these patients in the ICU.


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