People who suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) are often taken to a rehabilitation center to recover. There are several purposes of the rehabilitation treatment center:
- Stabilizing the medical and rehabilitation issues related to brain injury and the other injuries.
- Preventing secondary complications which may include pressure sores, pneumonia and contractures.
- Restoring lost functional abilities such as a limited ability to move, use the bathroom, talk, eat and think.
- Providing adaptive devices or strategies to enhance functional independence.
- Analyzing, with the family and the patient, what changes might be required when the person goes home.
TBI Treatment: Members of a Rehabilitation Team
A psychiatrist is in charge of the patient's rehabilitation program. He or she will treat a wide range of problems and will assess and prescribe brain injury treatment, as well as direct the rest of the team.
A neuropsychologist is also an important part of the brain injury patient's recovery process. He or she will assess the patient's change in thinking and behavior. Changes can include the following:
- Poor memory
- Poor attention and concentration
- Poor decision-making
- Language and communication abilities
- Inability to speak
- Inability to understand when spoken to
The rehabilitation nurse assists patients with brain injury and chronic illness in attaining the best possible health, and adapting to a different lifestyle. The rehabilitation nurse will focus on the following:
- Health maintenance
- Potential for aspiration
- Impaired skin integrity
- Bowel and bladder incontinence
- Impaired physical mobility
- Impaired or limited ability to take care of self
- Ineffective airway
- Sleep pattern disturbance
- Chronic pain
- Impaired cognition
- Impaired verbal communication and comprehension
- Sexual dysfunction
Physical Therapy for Brain Injury Patients
A physical therapist will work with a TBI patient to minimize or overcome paralyzing effects that are related to the brain injury. He or she will also help transfer brain injury patients to and from a bed if the patient is unable to walk on his or her own. He or she will also assess:
- Need for a wheelchair, brace or cane
- Quality of movement
- Spontaneous movement
- Coordination of movement
- Increased sensation of sensory-motor activities
- Pain management
Brain Injury Treatment: Occupational Therapy
Finally, an occupational therapist will evaluate functions and potential brain injury complications related to the movement of upper extremities, daily living skills, cognition, vision and perception, as well as help the patient determine the best ways to perform daily living skills including showering, dressing and personal hygiene. An occupational therapist will go over skills to prepare a patient to return home. These skills include the following:
- Grocery shopping
- Readiness for returning to work by assessing prevocational and vocational skills