7 essential components of recovery from a brain injury

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Brain injuries are the cause of more than 200,000 hospitalizations in the U.S. every year. When those patients are released from inpatient care, there are many steps that they are likely to take along their recovery journey.

Often referred to as a traumatic brain injury (TBI), a brain injury can impact a person’s motor skills, functional visual skills, cognition and personality. The severity of the injury and resulting effects can differ from person to person. The good news is that recovery is possible. Effective treatments, advanced technology, and skilled professionals can facilitate a patient’s recovery journey. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore key aspects of brain injury recovery and outline the steps patients can take to enhance their overall quality of life.

7 important aspects of recovery from a brain injury

Brain injury recovery mostly occurs after discharge from the inpatient hospital, with patients often going to outpatient facilities. In outpatient facilities, a team of healthcare professionals, such as therapists, nurses, social workers and counselors, collaborate with the patient and their loved ones to determine the most effective treatment options for each patient’s individual goals and challenges.

Understanding the intricacies of brain injury recovery can help ease any apprehensions you may have. Here are seven essential components of recovery from a brain injury:

  • Medication management — It’s likely that patients recovering from a brain injury will be prescribed medications when they’re discharged from the hospital. These medications can alleviate pain, reduce swelling in the brain and decrease the risk of seizures. Throughout the recovery process, nurses and physicians in the rehab center will help manage the medications. They’ll make any necessary adjustments to the prescriptions due to possible side effects.
  • Physical therapy — The impact of a brain injury can affect the entire body. It can often result in mobility and gross motor skill impairment. The goal of physical therapy is to improve the overall function of the person. This can include guided exercises and training modalities; tasks to improve gait, balance, and strength; and neuromuscular reeducation, which can help muscles relearn movement patterns and reflexes. 
  • Occupational therapy — Recovery involves helping a patient improve their independence in daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, and homemaking tasks and returning to leisure activities, work and/or school. Occupational therapists work on fine motor and gross motor skills, teaching adaptation strategies, and improving functional vision and cognition to improve a patient’s ability to complete their daily tasks as independently as possible.
  • Speech therapy — It’s possible that a TBI can impact a person’s communication, comprehension and cognitive skills. Speech therapy not only addresses speech difficulty, such as slurred speech, but can also help improve ability to process language and complete daily cognitive tasks such as financial management. Communication is essential for social situations and to be able to express needs and emotions.
  • Social work — One of the main goals of recovery for a brain injury is for the patient to return to their everyday responsibilities. This usually includes school, work and community involvement. Social workers help the patient safely return to their lifestyle by providing resources and connections to help the reintegration process.
  • Neuropsychology — A brain injury can take a toll on the mental and emotional health of both the patient and their loved ones, so it is important that patients and caregivers work with a mental healthcare professional. Patients can also complete neuropsychological assessments to determine what care they’ll need to improve their emotional and psychological states impacted by the event. Group therapy for the patients and their families can help them work through complex emotions stemming from the event.
  • Support system — The importance of having a support system around the patient can’t be overstated. Having friends, family members, significant others and peers by their side throughout the recovery process can help a patient feel like they’re capable of working through challenges. They see that others believe in them. The support system can also include the medical providers who work alongside the patient to help them become the best version of themselves.

Brain injury treatment and recovery will not look the same for everyone. Fully restoring a person’s pre-injury skills and behaviors isn’t always achievable and may vary based on the severity of the symptoms. The goal is to help the patient through the physical, cognitive and behavioral challenges to the best of their abilities.

Ability KC helps patients with brain injuries through the recovery process

A brain injury can pose challenges for a patient’s everyday life. The right outpatient rehabilitation treatment can make a significant difference for recovery. It should be as comprehensive as possible, from medication management to skilled therapy services.

At Ability KC, we make sure that patients have a comprehensive treatment plan. We want to move your loved one along the recovery process safely and effectively. We’ll join their support system and be by your loved one’s side during their progress.

Ability KC is a designated Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facility (CORF) with a Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) accreditation. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.