Brain Injury Rehabilitation

Written by Shirley Parker
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As might be expected, brain injury rehab takes a dedicated team, from the patient to the medical professionals to the family. It's not an easy road with any guaranteed results, but after the initial crisis has passed, recovery starts with evaluation of the patient's abilities. At road markers customized to his or her condition, he or she is re-evaluated. It may be after a certain number of weeks or when specific tasks are accomplished.

The goal of rehabilitation programs after brain injury is for patients to regain varying levels of being able to move about independently and within their cultural norms. This involves relearning many skills, basic skills like feeding and dressing oneself, being able to use the toilet, bathing, brushing one's teeth, and combing one's hair. For many patients, being able to read, sign checks, or say prayers in a respectful manner mean the world to them.

Brain injury rehabilitation centers specialize in different stages of progress and different types of therapy. Aquatic therapy, for example, can be very beneficial to some patients. The patient will usually be moved along to a different level of therapy when it's appropriate. After a time, being released to go home to family caretakers becomes possible for many. It depends on the severity of the brain injury and the resources and health of the rest of the family.

Many Roles, Many Different Therapists

A physiatrist leads the team of rehabilitation nurses, physical and occupational therapists, and speech pathologists. The team will do all they can to keep muscles from atrophying and joint deformity from starting, due to lack of exercise. Depending on the alertness of the patient, some therapy will be uncomfortable and may be painful. The physiatrist will also bring in recreational therapists, social workers, and neuropsychologists when their involvement will enhance the patient's recovery.


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