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The importance of early rehabilitation after a Traumatic Brain Injury

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Research has shown that early intervention and rehabilitation after a brain injury can have a significant impact on an individual’s recovery. Rehabilitation should ideally start as soon as your family member is medically stable.

Early rehabilitation is targeted at any difficulties a person is facing and maximise their recovery. Every head injury is different, so your family member’s rehabilitation will be tailored to their individual needs and challenges.

What does early rehabilitation involve?

Depending on the symptoms and problems your family member is experiencing, rehabilitation can include several different therapies, for example:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Dietician
  • Other Therapies

Movement and physiotherapy exercises

While a person is in the hospital, a movement and mobility assessment will be undertaken as soon as possible. Physiotherapists will use techniques to reduce the risk of your family member developing issues such as pressure sores, chest infections and to manage and reduce muscle spasms in the arms and legs.

Regular movement reduces muscles from becoming stiff and consequently difficult to move. You may notice when your family member is in a coma, physiotherapists will often carry out passive movements on their upper and lower limbs. This is to reduce the risk of muscles and joints becoming stiff.

At the point when your family member is conscious again, the physiotherapy team will assess movement and sitting and standing balance. From this, a treatment plan will be devised. The aim of this plan is to maximise the person’s balance and mobility to their best potential. This rehabilitation can take time, and your family member may need aids and equipment to help them.

Treatment could include core stability exercises, upper and lower limb exercises, as well as balance and mobility practice.

They may also have problems with balance and dizziness. The medical team will introduce techniques to help reduce these symptoms.

Memory problems, confusion and concentration

Often, people will experience problems with memory and concentration after a brain injury. This can cause them to become easily confused by what’s happening and not understand where they are and why.

While this can be frustrating for everyone, try to be patient with your family member and encourage them to talk about things they can remember, such as family holidays, their job and friends and family. If they repeat themselves or forget conversations, don’t question or argue with them, as this may increase their stress levels and won’t help with recovery.

Simple memory aids, such as post-it notes and notepads, can help your family member remember to do certain tasks. Even if they’re recovering quickly, try not to push them too hard, as this can lead to exhaustion.

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