TREATMENT FOR TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
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Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to numerous physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral effects. Depending on the injury, required treatment may be minimal or include emergency surgery and medications, and outcomes can range from full recovery to permanent disability or death. Thankfully, critical developments in diagnosis and treatment, such as MRIs and computed tomography, have decreased death rates and improved outcomes.
The three stages of treatment following a TBI are the acute stage, in which the patient is stabilized immediately after the injury; subacute, in which the patient is rehabilitated and returned to the community; and chronic, in which the patient continues to be rehabilitated and treated for long-term impairments.
In the acute stage the medical personnel aims to stabilize the patient and prevent further injury. It is usually critical to begin emergency treatment within what has come to be known as the “golden hour” after the injury. Even during transport to the hospital, the primary concerns are to maintain adequate cerebral blood flow, ensure proper oxygen supply, and controlling intracranial pressure. Those with moderate to severe injuries are typically treated in an intensive care unit followed by a neurosurgical ward. Additional measures to prevent further damage include the prevention of seizures and management of other injuries.
After the patient has been stabilized, the primary aims are the early detection of complications, the facilitation of functional and neurological recovery, and the prevention of additional injury. The patient may be transferred to a subacute nursing unit of the medical facility or to an independent rehabilitation hospital. After discharge, care may be given on an outpatient basis.
Disabilities from TBIs, especially from those that are moderate to severe, can last a lifetime, and some interventions may be needed even years after the original injury. It is important for survivors, their caregivers, and their families to be involved in developing and implementing rehabilitation plans.
For those who cannot return to regular employment, vocational rehabilitation may be an option. For those who cannot live independently or with family, supported living facilities such as group homes are available. Respite care, such as that offered in leisure facilities and day centers for the disabled, offers activities for survivors of a TBI and time off for their caregivers.
If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI, you may be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering of rehabilitation, and the financial cost of your rehabilitation and foregone wages. An expert TBI attorney can not only help you recover such compensation, but can get survivors and their caregivers in touch with compassionate professionals who can help with rehabilitation planning. A qualified TBI attorney should also be familiar with governmental programs that can provide assistance.
TBI in the Military