Care after Brain Injury – Acute,Sub Acute & Post Acute

Care After Brain Injury; Definitions

Acute Care  

Acute care after brain injury is a also known as part of  what is called secondary health care which provides a patient with short-term treatment after suffering a catastrophic injury or brain injury.  The word acute indicates that it is episodic.  This kind of care usually takes place in a hospital’s Intensive Care Unit where the patient is under constant observation.  If the patient is in a coma the medical personnel and the machines must take care of what the brain does normally.  Medications may be prescribed to help with blood pressure, seizures, decrease brain swelling or to treat seizures that were caused by the trauma the patient has experienced.  Vital signs have to be monitored closely. Breathing and fluid intake are usually monitored by the machines that the patient is hooked up to.  These things are necessary and best done in the ICU where the hospital has staffed for 24 hour care.  Comas that last longer than 6 hours are considered severe and indicates that there may be significant brain tissue death.  All the precautions have to be taken to prevent further damage to the brain or even death.

Acute care after brain injury requires the medical staff and family members to come up with a plan for care. This plan will be detailed on the best scenario for the patients needs at the time of hospitalization.

Sub Acute Care

Sub Acute care after brain injury usually means the patient has left the ICU and now needs comprehensive inpatient care.  Most patients requiring sub acute care no longer need monitoring by medical equipment.  Because of this they may be transferred to a facility that handles Sub Acute Care. They could remain in the hospital but many nursing facilities are now providing care to patients with the needs of care and rehabilitation. There will be a team set up to put together a plan for the patient.  The team will include physicians, nurses and other medical personnel such as speech pathologists, physical therapists and neuropsychologists if brain injury is involved.  These medical professionals will be trained to manage and assess each patient individually.  They will be trained in specific conditions and the situation of the patient.  There isn’t any specific time a patient may require Sub Acute Care. Depending on the condition of the patient, this could be a timely process.

Post Acute Care

Post Acute Care after brain injury refers to long term care for those who require a long term plan of extensive care.  Most likely the patient will be placed in a long-term facility.  Facility that specialize in brain injury are preferred of course but not all with have access to such facilities.  Much depends on the type of insurance the patient has and referrals to such facilities.

Next:  Coma Scales


Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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