Accidents and other traumas are a leading cause of death for Americans between the age of 1 and 44. It can be difficult to hold on to a job or even carry out everyday chores when suffering from a brain injury. Also, not all brain injuries are similar. Some are mild whereas others can be very severe. Brain injuries don’t need to have an open wound to be considered serious.
Sometimes, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause a variety of other deficits in emotions, thinking, sensation, and language. There is also a serious risk of early Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or epilepsy.
Levels of Traumatic Brain Injury
Mild TBI can result in cumulative neurological changes and cognitive deficits when experienced over several weeks, months, or years. Repeated TBI can quickly escalate into a catastrophic brain injury or a fatality when experienced within a short time period.
There are three levels of brain injuries. Doctors attain a rough approximation of the severity of a traumatic brain injury by using the Glasgow Coma Scale.
1. Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
These are brain injuries with a Glasgow Coma Score of 13 – 15. There is a brief loss of consciousness in such cases that don’t last for more than a few seconds. Or, you may just feel dazed or confused without actually losing consciousness.
Brain testing and scans come back normal. You may only be diagnosed with the condition by exhibiting a change in your mental status. The change can be indicative of a concussion or an alteration in the brain’s functioning.
2. Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury
Injuries scoring between 9 and 12 on the Glasgow Coma Scale are called moderate TBI. They make up for the majority of head-related injuries. Moderate brain injury can be caused by violent shaking of the head or a blow that is non-penetrating from a blunt object.
Many individuals with moderate TBI get to live their life without any lasting consequences while others suffer from lifelong impairments and disabilities. Loss of consciousness is a common sign of moderate brain injury which can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. You may also suffer from disorientation for a few days or weeks.
Behavioral, cognitive, and physical impairments may get better in a few months or result in lasting damage. Rehabilitation and therapy can go a long way in helping patients compensate for their deficits.
3. Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
Severe traumatic brain injuries score less than 9 on the Glasgow Coma Scale. These injuries are usually a result of penetrating trauma or crushing blow to the head. The injury may cause brain tissue to get crushed, ripped or sheared. Severe TBI is intractable and almost always life-threatening.
Severe TBI is usually open head injuries and requires prolonged time in rehabilitation and hospital. Generally, full and complete recovery is not possible in the case of severe traumatic brain injuries.
Medical Care for Traumatic Brain Injury
There is still a lot that remains unknown in the functioning of the brain and related injuries. Medical care, treatment methods, rehabilitation approaches, and technologies are advancing at a rapid rate as more knowledge of the brain is acquired.
Traumatic brain injuries are treated in conventional or day treatment facilities depending on the level of severity.
Types of Conventional Medical Care Centers
1. Level I Trauma Center
Level I trauma centers care equipped with state-of-the-art technology and staffed by trained specialists and healthcare providers. These centers are set up to provide comprehensive emergency services to people with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries. In most cases, trauma victims are transported to a trauma care center when they have sustained multiple traumatic injuries requiring critical care.
2. Intensive Care Units (ICU’s)
ICU is also called an intensive treatment unit (ITU) or a critical care unit (CCU). This is where the sickest patients in need of utmost attention are admitted. These facilities have a critical care team to help save patients with life-threating traumatic brain injuries. You may be admitted to ICU if you require constant monitoring and attention using specialist equipment.
Trauma ICU is only found in level I trauma centers. These facilities have round the clock staffing of specialized practitioners, such as emergency medicine specialists, trauma surgeons, neurosurgeons, and others.
3. Acute Rehab Facility
Acute rehabilitation is started as soon as possible as part of the recovery process for individuals with traumatic brain injuries. Acute rehab is provided at the trauma hospital or rehabilitation hospital. Health professionals with training and experience in brain injuries work with patients to help them regain as much of their routine activities as possible.
This includes toileting, eating, dressing, walking, speaking, and others. Individuals after suffering from a severe traumatic brain injury find it difficult to do regular things, such as eating, walking, sitting up, or bathing on their own. Acute rehabilitation helps them perform these everyday mundane tasks.
Acute rehabilitation facilities have speech, physical, occupation, and other forms of therapy that are provided by trained professionals. Patients can see a psychiatrist as well if they suffer from PTSD. Doctors in these facilities are available 24/7 since any patient may destabilize suddenly and require acute intervention.
4. Post-acute Rehabilitation
Patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries may be admitted to a post-acute residential rehabilitation facility when they are well enough to participate in intensive therapy. The goal of post-acute rehab is to help trauma victims regain maximum independent functioning levels.
Rehabilitation works by channeling the body’s natural healing process and abilities. It taps into the brain’s relearning faculties to help patients recover quickly and efficiently. Post-acute rehabilitation facilities also involve learning new techniques to compensate for capabilities that may have been permanently altered because of the brain injury.
5. Sub-acute Rehabilitation
Patients that are not strong enough to tolerate intensive therapy at post-acute rehabilitation centers are transferred to sub-acute rehab facilities. These programs are designed for people with TBI who require a long-term less intensive levels of rehabilitation services.
Sub-acute rehabilitation programs are also suited to patients that have shown progress in acute rehabilitation but are yet to achieve rapid functional gains. Sub-acute rehabilitation can be provided in a wide array of settings. Usually, they are provided at a skilled nursing home under the care of trained staff.
6. Extended Care Facilities
Extended care refers to living in a facility that provides long term assistance and care. These facilities take care of patients’ medical needs as well as their living activities. Many people opt for extended care at home while others prefer being at a facility to receive their care.
People that have failed to show progress in rehabilitation facilities after traumatic brain injuries may require extended care. Extended care facilities include nursing homes and nursing facilities.
Options for Day Treatment or Rehabilitation
1. Outpatient Therapy
Outpatient therapy provides rehabilitation to patients with traumatic brain injury in a structured group setting during the day while allowing them to return home at night. People with TBI may choose to continue receiving outpatient therapies following acute, post-acute, or sub-acute rehabilitation. This will be recommended by the doctor to maintain or enhance recovery.
Outpatient therapies are also recommended for people that did not sustain severe injuries that warrant hospitalization or those that were not diagnosed with TBI when the incident happened. Outpatient therapy can help in addressing functional impairments.
2. Home Health Services
Few rehabilitation providers and hospitals offer rehabilitation therapies for persons with brain injury within the comforts of their home. This therapy is similar to the one found at outpatient facilities.
3. Community Re-entry
Community re-entry programs are focused on regaining a higher level of social, motor, and cognitive skills in order to help patients struggling with traumatic brain injuries return to independent living. These programs also help prepare individuals to work.
Therapy may be focused on interacting with others, safety in the community, money management skills, initiation, and goal setting. Some programs include vocational evaluation and necessary training as well. People who participate in the program have generally completed acute, post-acute, sub-acute, or outpatient therapy.
4. Independent Living Programs
These programs provide therapy for people with TBI to start living as independently as possible. Therapy is focused on regaining the ability to complete daily living tasks. Typically, independent living programs have various different levels to meet the needs of patients that require special assistance as well as those that have started living independently and require monitoring.
Speak to a Dedicated Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney Today
Traumatic brain injury survivors face lifelong challenges. They have to suffer the loss of personal independence while having to relearn several mental and physical skills. The family of a TBI survivor is faced with many challenges, such as how to meet the needs of their loved ones or afford a medical care facility.
You shouldn’t have to face your challenges alone if you or someone you love suffered a traumatic brain injury because of another’s wrongdoing or recklessness. The skilled TBI attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP can help you seek rightful compensation from the at-fault party. Schedule an appointment today by calling at 1-800-660-2264.
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