Brain Injury Rehab

A brain injury can affect your physical abilities and cause overwhelming uncertainty about the future. The Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute is dedicated to guiding and supporting patients and their families through the challenges of brain injury rehabilitation.

Gary Galang, MD, a physiatrist specializing in brain injury medicine, answers questions about brain injury and the treatments available at the Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation at UPMC Mercy.

Can you provide a few examples of conditions you treat?

At the brain injury unit, we see a lot of acute neurological conditions like encephalopathysevere strokes, and neurological infections in neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s DiseaseAlzheimer’s, or dementia.

We also treat traumatic brain injuries that can be caused by car accidents, violence, or falls (which most often affect the elderly).

What does the patient care team look like in your unit?

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Following a multidisciplinary model of care, the brain injury unit includes a diverse group of specialists who work together to improve the patient’s function and quality of life. We have a doctor who handles the patient’s medical conditions and specialists who take care of the patient’s function. Our physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech and language therapists address a patient’s every rehabilitation need. We also have expert nursing care and a neuropsychologist who provides counseling and education. Finally, a case manager helps the patient transition back into the community.

What does a typical care plan look like for a patient?

An individualized care plan is developed according to each patient’s medical needs, as well as their cognitive and functional abilities. As a team, we make sure that the patient is medically stable and has improved function, and that we’ve addressed all their needs.

Are there specific aspects you consider in order to provide each patient with the best care?

From a functional standpoint, we look at the patient’s impairments and ability to learn new skills. We also look into the resources that are available in their community — from family support to what’s available in terms of social services and even churches and charitable institutions. Our goal is to return the patient home safely.

Why should patients come to UPMC for brain injury rehabilitation?

The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute provides a continuum of care that starts before — and extends well beyond — the actual rehabilitation program. We have the medical expertise in our system to provide care for all of a patient’s medical problems. Most importantly, we have the resources and the research background to develop models of care for patients with very complicated conditions. We also provide a seamless transition from acute care to rehabilitation and a return to the community.

To learn more about the Center for Brain Injury Rehabilitation at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, please call 1-877-287-3422 or visit our website.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About UPMC Rehabilitation Institute

The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute offers inpatient, outpatient, and transitional rehabilitation, as well as outpatient physician services so that care is available to meet the needs of our patients at each phase of the recovery process. Renowned physiatrists from the University of Pittsburgh Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as well as highly trained physical, occupational, and speech therapists, provide individualized care in 12 inpatient units within acute care hospitals and over 80 outpatient locations close to home and work.