Brain Injury Care – The Steps in Road to Rehabilitation and Recovery
Brain Injury Care – Treatment for Brain Injury
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Brain injury care and rehabilitation for the severe brain injury begins with saving the life of the injured person. Key to brain injury care is getting the injured person from the accident scene to the hospital as quickly as possible. The unsung heroes of the brain injury team are the pilot and crew of the Flight for Life helicopters. Perhaps more than any other breakthrough for the treatment of brain injury, the helicopter is the key to why more lives are being saved from brain injury.
Where in severe brain injury cases, the EMT and ambulance personnel are the heroes, in the mild brain injury sphere, it is this phase of the treatment that not enough is done. What makes the first line of defense so important in severe brain injury care is emergency interventions exist that can change the outcome. Too often, the importance of that early intervention is ignored after a MTBI, because missing a MTBI isn’t a life threatening situation. However, an undiagnosed mild traumatic brain injury can rob life as well. Without the attention that a diagnosed brain injury deserves, the survivor can slip into the abyss of post-concussion syndrome, without ever knowing what is going on.
I know, I went through that when I was 21. I overcame most of that, but I was lucky, part of the 85% who have apparent full recoveries from concussion. But for the better part of a year, my life was a mess, my career as a reporter ended after a day and half and I lost several other jobs. Fortunately, I found my way back home to my parents house, where rest and family helped me restart my life. All of that, without ever knowing that I had suffered a brain injury, even though I was unconscious at the scene for five minutes.
I too needed brain injury care, not in the same way that the person who was air-flighted to the hospital and is now in ICU needs it. On the next pages in this sequence, we will talk about the brain injury care and rehabilitation of severe brain injury.
In our pages on Mild Brain Injury and the Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS), we will discuss the the challenges in diagnosing and providing brain injury care for a person with difficult to identify changes after MTBI. Click here for such discussion of Mild Brain Injury.
Many of the lessons of brain injury care apply to both mild and severe brain injury, but the focus is different. With severe brain injury, the challenge is to preserve brain cells and help the survivor get back the basic structure of life before brain injury. In mild brain injury care, the challenge is to make life easier despite the attention and memory problems that follow a significant injury to the brain’s communication network. But many MTBI survivors suffer focal injuries that are similar, if of a lesser magnitude than those who survive severe brain injury. And much of the goal of severe brain injury rehabilitation is to help the survivor to reach the level that many who survive MTBI are at.
Yet, too often the slope of the recovery curves of the severe and the mild converge, with sometimes the MTBI survivor getting worse to the point medical treaters scoff because those with PCS do worse than severe brain injury survivors. Yet, key to brain injury care is identifying deficits which persist, without respect to how long that person was unconscious in the acute state of the injury. Such deficits may be difficult to assess, but the need for assessment and then treatment of those deficits is the common denominator of all brain injury.