Rehabbing At Home With Traumatic Brain Injury

Posted by Bonnie Joffe on 1/9/2018 to Mobility Aids Articles and Information
Rehabbing At Home With Traumatic Brain Injury

Statistics show that approximately 1.5 million people will suffer yearly from a traumatic brain injury—80,000-90,000 of these individuals will be left with long-term or permanent disabilities. [1]

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is defined as ‘an injury to the brain that causes problems in one or more areas of function, including thinking, attention, memory, impulse control, processing, speech and language, motor abilities, physical functioning, and behavior. A brain injury can be caused by a trauma, loss of oxygen, stroke, toxic exposure, tumors, infection, or brain surgery. The impact can be subtle or mild to significant, and may result in short-term or long-term impairment.’ [2]

Because a brain injury affects each individual differently, recovery time and prognosis, as well as prescribed rehabilitation programs will vary widely based on how the brain was affected—length of time in a comatose state, degree of amnesia (if any), age and the severity of the injury. The ability to execute basic undertakings, memory, speech, vision, swallowing, eating and overall mobility from standing, walking, sitting up independently may all be affected post TBI.

While many people with a TBI must remain in a structured in-house rehabilitation community, there are many communities who now offer support and external help for someone who can recuperate at home. The focus ranges from self-care, building on strengths to overcome deficits and creating a custom program to help the individual so they can return to their daily activities.[3] At home rehab for TBI patients can help them to adapt to their home environment, as well as working towards a return to the workplace. Often, there is a need to make accommodations for mobility issues with adaptive devices. This may include wider doorways or wheelchair ramps for easy door passage, door openers that open for the person to enter and exit independently. [4]

Treatments can range from:

  • Videofluoroscopy and Vital Stim® which treats swallowing disorders
  • Body Weight Supported Treadmill Training (BWST) and Bioness® that involves the use of wireless electrical stimulation, helping the TBI patient to improve their balance, gait and overall mobility.
  • Robotic therapies, splinting devices such as the SaeboFlex®, can help to improve the performance and function of arms and hands. [5]

In the transition from a medical facility to home, those who are able, will be provided the proper training and skills for driving a van, as well as maneuvering themselves in and out of the vehicle. In addition, self care for bathing, toileting, dressing and food preparation are all part of this changeover.

Because returning home can be multifaceted and stressful, offering an environment for the TBI patient to feel safe and secure is essential.

[1] Medscape.com

[2] Lifeskillsvillage.com

[3] KennedyKreiger.com

[4] Brain Injury Association of America

[5] Traumaticbraininjury.com

© Copyright 2018 The Wright Stuff, Inc. Articles may only be redistributed in its unedited form. Written permission from The Wright Stuff, Inc. must be obtained to reprint or cite the information contained within this article.

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