Brain Injury:

Initial Treatment

Initial treatment of atraumatic brain injury begins upon arrival to a hospital.  At the hospital, a team of medical professionals will meet the patient. The trauma surgeon, acting as the leader, will direct the team. The trauma staff will initiate initial brain injury treatment including resuscitation procedures, monitoring of the body's vital functions, responding to potential life-threatening changes and coordinating care with other hospital personnel.

While the physicians are evaluating the patient and the response to brain injury treatment, the trauma nurse is caring for the patient. The nurse will provide resuscitation, stabilize and  give supportive care. The nurses have the responsibility to coordinate and provide communication within the hospital and with the family.

Once stabilized, the patient will be transferred to a specialized trauma care unit. Care will now be provided by the critical care nursing staff. The nursing staff's responsibility is to assess, monitor and interpret vital physiologic or body functions, notify the physician of changes, repeat assessments at regular intervals and provide information for the family. The patient will be monitored for signs of infection and pain.

Other key staff also will play a role on the specialized trauma care unit in the treatment of a TBI. The respiratory therapist will help with the initial resuscitation efforts, provide oxygen therapy, configure the ventilator settings and will assure proper equipment functioning.  The respiratory therapist will also monitor the brain injury patient's breathing by listening to the lungs.