Caregiver’s Guide to Brain Injury Rehabilitation
The goal of rehabilitation is to help your loved one live and function as independently as possible. Rehabilitation helps the body heal and assists the brain in relearning processes so that an individual recovers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Rehabilitation will also help the person with Brain Injuries learn new ways to do things if any previous abilities have been lost.
After your loved one’s initial life-saving treatment at the time of the injury, he or she will most likely start a rehabilitation program and will work with a team of specialists. The person with an injury and his or her family are the most important members of the rehabilitation team. Family members should be included in the rehabilitation and treatment as much as possible. Some of the other professionals who may be part of this team include:
- Neurologists – doctors who are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of nervous system disorders, including diseases of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles.
- Occupational, physical, speech and language therapists – therapists that help the person regain thinking skills, communication skills, physical abilities and behavioral skills.
- Neuropsychologists – specialized psychologists who focus on thinking skills and behavior problems.
- Vocational rehabilitation experts – employment coaches who help with regaining job skills.
Some of the different types of rehabilitation facilities include:
- Acute rehabilitation – an intensive rehabilitation program.
- Coma treatment centers – provide coma-specific medical care.
- Transitional living programs – nonmedical residential programs that teach skills for community living.
- Long-term care and supervised living programs – residential facilities that provide care and
- rehabilitation to people with brain injuries who are not able to live independently.
- Behavior management programs – typically community-based (i.e., not residential) programs that teach self-control and appropriate social behaviors.
- Day treatment programs – provide rehabilitation during the day so the person can return home at night.
Recovering from a brain injury is a process and is individual to each person and family. One of the major impacts that stroke has on quality of life is the way that it affects a person’s emotions and relationships. There are hardships that immediately come to mind – communication problems, mobility limitations, cognitive impairment – but there are also complex social and emotional stressors that impact well-being. Stroke affects emotions, and in turn, relationships and social functioning among stroke victims and family, friends, and/or caregivers. It is important to remember that rehabilitation may last weeks or even years and that your loved one will benefit from the ability to receive rehabilitation services throughout this time. Appropriate programs and treatments will also change as your family member’s needs change. Choosing Ernest Health is a huge step forward on the road to recovery!