Sustaining any kind of brain injury is a traumatic time in a person’s life. Rehabilitation is an essential step in the recovery process and begins as soon as the person is able to start. Each program is tailored to you based on your injury.
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Understanding Brain Injury
A brain injury can be caused by trauma such as a car accident or a concussion, or it may be from a tumor or hemorrhage. Stroke and neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia, damage the brain and cause similar symptoms to a traumatic injury. No matter the type of injury sustained, nearly everyone is affected differently.
The effects of the injury can spread across the brain (called diffuse) or affect one part of the brain (called focal). The type of injury determines what symptoms you may experience and what long-term issues you may feel.
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Health Issues Associated with Brain Injuries
Some problems related to brain injury include:
- Trouble thinking
- Difficulty communicating
- Memory problems
- Agitation or restlessness
- Personality changes
- Difficulty caring for yourself or doing daily activities
- Trouble walking
Rehabilitation for Brain Injury
A brain injury rehabilitation program takes into account your limitations and lifestyle needs. The goal is to help you overcome or compensate for these limitations and to re-learn skills that have been interrupted by the injury.
Some therapies you may receive during your rehabilitation for brain injury include:
- Physical therapy – to build strength, balance, and coordination.
- Occupational therapy – to re-learn or build up your ability to perform daily activities, including getting dressed, walking, and swallowing.
- Speech-language pathology – to aid with communication difficulties, such as trouble finding words or understanding words, and speaking.
- Neuropsychology – to evaluate personality or behavior changes and develop strategies to adapt.
- Behavioral health – to help you handle the emotional effects of a brain injury with the aid of psychologists, psychiatrists, and chaplains.
Nurses, social workers, and case managers are also vital parts of your care team. They are responsible for handling your medical care, helping coordinate insurance, and, importantly, aiding your transition from the hospital back home or to another level of care.
Brain injury rehab usually starts as an inpatient program and then moves to outpatient as your medical condition allows. Your medical team works closely with you and your family members or caregivers to provide you with excellent care and improve your abilities as much as possible.
As part of the largest rehabilitation network in western Pennsylvania — and one of the largest in the United States — the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute is a nationally recognized center of excellence for physical rehabilitation. Experts and support services at our inpatient rehab facilities and transitional units help patients recover from a variety of injuries and illnesses like brain and spinal cord injuries, stroke, trauma and amputation, and more. UPMC is proud to have two hospitals rated as high performing in rehabilitation by U.S. News & World Report.