What Treatment is Necessary After a Brain Injury?
If you have gotten a brain injury whether it be from playing football or from a car accident, it is important to recognize what you should do and the treatment you should seek. Fortunately, the expert Salt Lake City brain injury lawyers from Handy & Handy Attorneys At Law can help guide and inform you on the best steps to take after the traumatic event of a brain injury.
What Is A Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) interrupts the normal function of the brain by causing damage to the delicate tissue. Damage occurs from pressure inside the skull and lack of oxygen to the brain cells. Brain cells include the critical neurons that send and receive messages to all body systems. Injuries to the brain result in short or long-term damage depending on the severity and location of the injury.
Brain injuries most commonly occur from falls, motor vehicle accidents, and contact sports. TBIs can range from a mild concussion with treatment and home monitoring until recovery, or long-term impairment that requires hospitalization, rehabilitation, and therapies to support recovery.
Immediate Treatment for Brain Injuries
Emergency care for a brain injury involves stabilizing the patient and promptly addressing inflammation and pressure in the brain from bleeding or swelling. Treatment in the hospital typically includes minimizing further damage by managing swelling, draining fluids, and increasing blood supply and oxygen flow to the brain to encourage healing.
Depending on the severity of the injury, the patient may be comatose or medical providers may place them into a medically induced coma to encourage healing. Early treatments may include:
- Diuretics to reduce inflammation
- Anti-seizure medications
- Coma-inducing medications
Once a patient stabilizes and returns to consciousness, they’ll undergo evaluations to determine the extent of the damage. Evaluations also indicate the type of rehabilitation the patient requires to maximize their recovery.
Rehabilitation After Brain Injury
Most people who suffer significant or serious TBIs require rehabilitation to maximize their recovery. While brain cells cannot regenerate, the brain can “rewire” itself to form new pathways and restore some degree of function. Recovery varies a great deal depending on the severity of the injury. Recovery also varies between individuals. Rehabilitation may include one or more of the following:
- Speech therapy
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Psychiatric or psychological care
Some patients need to relearn basic skills and may have difficulty with language, communication, concentration, memory, and mood. The goal of rehabilitation is to improve the patient’s ability to perform routine daily activities and restore independence to the greatest possible extent.
Why Is Rehabilitation Necessary After a Brain Injury?
Some brain injuries, such as concussions, are mild and patients fully recover with rest at home. For more serious injuries, however, rehabilitation and ongoing therapies can significantly improve outcomes. Brain injury patients may need help to:
- Redevelop language skills
- Improve motor function
- Treat mood and emotional problems
- Prevent complications such as blood clots, pressures sores, pain, breathing problems, and problems with bowel and bladder function
Early rehabilitation begins in the hospital and then continues in a rehabilitation facility. Most patients continue to undergo rehabilitation therapies as outpatients once they return home or to an assisted living center.
Going forward, some brain injury patients may benefit from a caseworker to help facilitate access to services, care providers, and health professionals. Vocational counselors can also help ease recovered brain injury patients back into the workforce.
A strong support system is critical for brain injury patients.