Brain injuries can cause physical, cognitive, and behavioral changes of varying significance. Children and young adults with brain injuries may be at risk for difficulties with attention, memory, executive functioning, language skills, behavioral regulation, and processing speed—all of which can significantly affect daily life.
Our integrated and intensive brain injury rehabilitation program, directed by a pediatric physiatrist, consists of an interdisciplinary team of highly skilled clinicians who develop an intensive treatment plan tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and family.
This team includes medical, nursing, and therapeutic care to optimize the recovery and outcomes for each individual. Evaluation, treatment, and follow-up are all essential components of the program. Family involvement is also emphasized, because brain injury affects the entire family, as well as that patient's ability to return to home, school, and community.
Education starts from the beginning of the patient’s stay. Families participate in an orientation that includes information regarding the stages of recovery and what to expect during the process.
As the stay continues, families are trained to assist with certain portions of care in order for the patient to be as prepared as possible for discharge.
What to Expect?
Depending on the clinic and the individual's needs, screenings and treatment is provided by physicians, nurses and other team members who specialize in:
Physiatry: Physiatrists are specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation. They lead your child’s team in treating the physical and neurologic conditions following a brain injury.
Neuropsychology: This specialty area of psychology applies knowledge of brain functioning to understand how children think, learn, and manage their behavior. Learning, memory, organization, attention, and the regulation of emotions are all areas that may be affected by a brain injury. The neuropsychologist provides consultation with the clinical team and the family about concerns and issues and provides the family with feedback and recommendations for transitioning back into home, school and community
Physical therapy (PT): The physical therapist will evaluate your child's muscle strength, range of motion, balance, and coordination after the injury. Based on these findings, physical therapy will be scheduled to improve function, incorporating new technologies and child appropriate activities. Most of the patients on the inpatient unit receive a minimum of three hours of PT each day, with many receiving more.
Occupation therapy (OT): An OT specialist evaluates and treats upper and lower extremity impairments, fine motor difficulties, difficulties with visual-perceptual or visual-motor skills, organizational abilities, or memory.
Speech and Language Pathologist: The speech and language pathologist will evaluate the brain injured person's ability to communicate, including the ability to speak, understand, write and use hand signals. Often a person with a brain injury seems to understand much more than they actually do. It is important for the family and therapist to know how well the person understands spoken words so that instructions can be given in the best way. It is also important to know the best way to help the brain injured person communicate to reduce their frustration and stress. The person with a brain injury may also have difficulty with other thinking skills, such as sequencing, problem solving and judgment. Many times the brain injured person has difficulty with swallowing. The speech pathologist assesses their ability to chew and swallow foods of different amounts and textures.
Treatment goals for patients may include:
- Improve physical function, mobility, and independence to increase skills needed to perform activities of daily living
- Improve attention span, memory, and decision-making skills
- Counseling for disability adjustment and coping strategies
- Improve behavioral and social skills
- Medication management
- Develop cognitive and behavioral strategies to compensate for their injuries during recovery
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