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Patient Categorisation Tool (PCAT)

The Patient Categorisation Tool (PCAT) provides an assessment of rehabilitation need following an Acquired Brain Injury. There is wide variation in the level of complexity following an Acquired Brain Injury. It is essential that the correct level of care is provided in the correct setting based on the complexity of need. 

In England, the NHS service specification identifies four categories of need (A, B, C & D) based on specific criteria, and three levels of rehabilitation service (1-3) that were originally defined by the British Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (Specialist neuro-rehabilitation services).  

All levels of service have a certain mix of complexity within their caseload, but broadly speaking: 

  • Patients with Category C and D needs can usually be managed in their local Level 3 services.
  • Patients with more complex (Category B) needs, may require rehabilitation in a Level 2 (local specialist) rehabilitation unit.
  • Patients with highly complex (Category A) needs may require rehabilitation in a tertiary Level 1 centre.

The Patient Categorisation Tool provides a checklist and ordinal score to determine the category of need for rehabilitation. 


  • The PCAT forms part of the mandatory toolset within the UK Rehabilitation Outcomes Collaborative (UK ROC) national clinical database for specialist rehabilitation, where it is used as the principal measure of rehabilitation needs.
  • It is used to support clinical decision-making and to guide referral of individual patients to the appropriate level of rehabilitation service.
  • Caseload complexity (as defined by the % of Category A and B patients) is used by UK ROC to inform commissioning by signposting rehabilitation units for designation as a Level 1 or 2 specialist service.


The UK ROC software that contains and collates PCAT alongside the other UK ROC measures of input and outcome is built on Microsoft Excel and is freely available from the UK ROC team: Contact


Contact us

For further information or copies of the PCAT or UK ROC Guide and Software, please contact:

+44(0) 20 8869 5161