Best Practices

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Best Practices:

When one suffers from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), the recovery is a lifelong process and there is no cure.

The severity of the injury will depend upon the rehabilitation and road to recovery that one will embark.

Generally there are two scenarios: one is that an individual has suffered a TBI due to an Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA)

and the severity of injuries is enough to have them rushed to emergency at the closest hospital. Once the individual has been stabilized and all of the physical injuries have been dealt with, then they are rushed to either an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) or to the neurological-rehabilitation unit. If the major injuries tend to be more physical then neurological, then the individual will be sent to a unit at the hospital to accommodate those injuries. Once the critical point of time is over and the individual is stabilized, then the intensive rehabilitation process will begin.

Sometimes this process is a combination of cognitive rehabilitation and physical rehabilitation or it may just be

cognitive rehabilitation. In some cases an individual may have to re-learn how to walk, talk, dress themselves, eat and function “normally”. In other cases, it may just be severe memory loss so rehabilitation will be to re-train the brain to compensate for the memory loss.

For many individuals there will be a team of specialists working with them, occupational therapists, recreational therapists,

speech therapists, physical therapists, neurologists and physiatrists, social workers and sometimes psychiatrists. Initially the team will work with the individual in the hospital and then as it comes closer to discharge, the care will be transferred to an outpatient team that will follow through.

If an individual has a lesser degree of head injury, then their time in hospital may be less and the assessments and treatment

may differ. If the MVA resulted in a concussion or a lesser head injury, an individual may be discharged shortly after arriving at the hospital or they may be released on scene (rarely happens). In this event, it is not always as obvious as to what has happened and there can be many struggles and frustrations for an individual if they have not been diagnosed with the brain injury.

Once the individual finds the resources that are available, then they will also enter the world of therapy and be followed by an

outpatient team of specialists. From a practitioner’s point of view, there is a very concrete set of procedures with few to no gaps and everything runs smoothly. If one was to talk to a family or a survivor of brain injury, the frustrations are stronger with concern over the lack of commonality in health care from province to province, how some provinces have better supports and services then others and how some have more leading research and knowledge then others do.