Rehabilitation After Traumatic Brain Injury — What You Need to Know

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can leave an individual with a life-long disability and drastically impact their quality of life. Almost 13.5 million people live with a disability caused by TBI in the US alone, reveal statistics. However, with timely treatment and rehabilitation, you can lower the chances of developing a long-term disability after TBI and increase the likelihood of returning to community independence and employment sooner rather than later.

If you have suffered a severe TBI, rehabilitation will play a key role in your recovery. It can take different forms depending on the severity of your brain injury, but it usually involves physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychiatric care, and social support. All of these will be designed to help you recover from the effects of TBI and prepare you for your life after rehabilitation.  Time is of the essence, so enlisting in a therapist that is a neurological expert in the field is of utmost importance. Person’s with TBI often become frustrated when attempting therapy at an orthopedic or generalist clinic. Many orthopedic clinics lack the 1:1 attention that a neurological injury requires. It is also worth mentioning that the sensory needs of someone with TBI are not always easily recognized or understood in orthopedic clinics. If you or someone you know have a TBI and are in need of therapy, take time and find an expert in your area. It is worth driving a few extra miles to ensure they understand that no two neurological injuries are the same, and your unique needs are met.

Did you know that therapy can also extend outside the clinic? Some Clinics may offer home and community-based therapy that extends outside of the clinic walls and into the community setting where real community independence is learned. If after a TBI, community re-integration is what is needed to get back to the job of living, look for a community-based occupational therapist or physical therapist  to help you do just that.

Why You Might Need Rehabilitation after TBI

Individuals who have suffered TBI or have been exhibiting the symptoms that follow TBI may be recommended rehabilitation therapy for the following reasons:

  • To improve their ability to function in their community and at home
  • To help treat the health problems caused by TBI such as balance, dizziness, weakness, cognitive, sensory and memory deficits.
  • To provide them with much-needed social and emotional support
  • To help them adjust to their new life changes following TBI
  • To get back to the job of living and finding joy again

Rehab also plays an important role in preventing complications of TBI such as:

  • Pain, especially frequent headaches and cervical pain
  • Blood clots
  • Pressure ulcers, otherwise known as bedsores
  • A drop in blood pressure when moving around
  • Muscle weakness and muscle spasm
  • Bowel and bladder problems
  • Breathing problems and pneumonia
  • Mental health decline and depressive or avoidant behaviors
  • Reproductive and sexual function problems

What to expect during rehab community therapy after TBI?

Since everyone’s needs and abilities after TBI vary, your rehab provider will design a rehab program based on your needs. This program may include many different therapies, such as occupational therapy in the home, clinic or community, physical therapy, and speech therapy.

As your rehab after TBI progresses, your rehab provider or physician will make changes to your program to meet your new needs and abilities.  Setting short term and long term goals are important for moving in the right direction.

Your rehab after TBI may take place in a setting chosen by your family or your case manager. Usually, it’s necessary to pick up the setting that works best for an individual to get the most out of rehab. These settings include inpatient rehab hospital, outpatient rehab hospital, home-based rehab, a comprehensive day program, an independent living centre, and many others.

What happens after Rehab for TBI?

How long your rehab program lasts or how much follow-up care you will need depends on how severe your brain injury was and how much you have recovered during rehab. Some people may return to the life they had before the injury sooner, while others may require lifetime care, and others may need some help provided by attendant care or family support to enjoy community independence.

Once you have been deemed fit by your case manager or rehab provider to return to your work, school or community life, you or your case manager or family members will be given instructions regarding the course of action to take should you show any signs or symptoms of complications related to TBI in the future. It is good to continue to check in with your physician every 6 months to a year for at least 3 years following the brain injury to make sure that the support is available to address change in status or new goals.

Bottom Line

Seldom do people realize what rehab can do for an individual with TBI. But research backs that timely treatment and quality, reliable rehabilitation are two critical aspects of preparing individuals with TBI for the life changes that follow brain injury.

If you or your loved one has suffered a TBI, please feel free to contact Galaxy Brain and Therapy Center today and let us create a rehab program for them that works to offer them a higher quality of life.