Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, an estimated 2.87 million people sustain a TBI, resulting in approximately 2.5 million emergency department visits and 55,000 deaths. Of those who survive, 50,000 will suffer long-term disability as a result of their injuries.
Despite these sobering statistics, there is hope for those who have suffered a TBI. With proper medical treatment and rehabilitation, many people are able to make a full or partial recovery. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the road to recovery for TBI victims and some of the challenges they may face along the way.
Mild TBI Recovery
Most people who experience a mild TBI (concussion) recover quickly and experience no lasting effects. For some people, however, symptoms may persist for weeks or even months after the initial injury. Symptoms of a concussion can include headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering new information, and irritability. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms after a head injury, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Moderate to Severe TBI Recovery
Recovery from a moderate to severe TBI can be a long and difficult process. Some people with a moderate to severe TBI will require hospitalization and rehabilitation in order to regain their cognitive and motor functions. Rehabilitation may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and counseling. It is important to follow your treatment plan and attend all scheduled appointments in order to maximize your chances of recovery.
The First Few Days: The Acute Phase
The first few days after sustaining a TBI are considered the acute phase. During this time, victims will be closely monitored by medical professionals for any changes in their condition. If the victim is unconscious or in a coma, they will be kept in the hospital so that they can be monitored for cerebral edema (a build-up of fluid around the brain) or other complications.
Those who are conscious but have sustained moderate to severe TBI will also be hospitalized for close observation. In addition to monitoring for cerebral edema and other complications, doctors will also be on the lookout for signs of post-traumatic amnesia (PTA). PTA occurs when a person cannot remember events that happened both before and after the injury. It is not uncommon for people with PTA to “wander off” or become confused and disoriented. As such, it is important that they receive 24-hour supervision during the acute phase to ensure their safety.
Most people with TBI will be discharged from the hospital within two weeks of sustaining their injury, although some may require extended hospitalization if they develop complications or experience more serious symptoms.
Rehabilitation and Therapy
Once they have been discharged from the hospital, TBI patients will begin outpatient rehabilitation and therapy. The goals of rehabilitation are to help patients regain as much function as possible and learn how to cope with any physical, cognitive, or behavioral changes that have occurred as a result of their injury.
Physical therapy may be necessary to help patients regain strength and mobility. Speech therapy may also be recommended if the patient has difficulty communicating or has developed problems with swallowing. Patients may also need occupational therapy to relearn basic skills such as dressing, grooming, and cooking. In addition, many TBI patients benefit from cognitive rehabilitation therapies such as neuropsychological testing, neuropsychotherapy, and cognitive remediation therapy.
Returning to Normal Life
The road to recovery following a TBI can be long and difficult, but it is important to remember that most people do eventually make a full or partial recovery. With proper medical care and rehabilitation, many TBI victims are able to return to their previous level of functioning or adapt to any permanent changes in their cognitive or physical abilities.
A traumatic brain injury can be a life-altering event with far-reaching consequences for both the victim and their family members. However, with proper traumatic brain injury recovery and rehabilitation, many people are able to recover from their injuries and return to leading fulfilling lives.
For more information, visit Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath – Fort Lauderdale brain injury lawyers.
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