Brain Injury Rehabilitation for Children & Adults
An introduction to Brain Injury
Headway is a specialist charity that should be the first port of call for anyone who has sustained a head injury. They provide comprehensive information on mild to severe head injuries. www.headway.org.uk
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a specific name used for head injuries sustained as a result of a traumatic event such as a car accident, sporting accident or assault. The TBI can range from a mild concussion to a severe traumatic brain injury.
No two injuries are the same and someone with a mild concussion may suffer with symptoms many months after the event whereas someone else may suffer with no further symptoms.
The impact of this injury will depend on the area of damage and can affect:
· Planning and organising
· Motor function
Rehabilitation following a TBI will be bespoke for every client and will be dependent on a skilled assessment to identify difficulties and should be goal focused.
The article below goes into more detail about brain injuries, including the differences and the symptoms.
Anyone can be affected by a brain injury and at any time. The injury could be a bump to the head that requires some basic first aid support or a catastrophic injury.
Often as the result of a road traffic accident requiring specialist medical support.
What is Brain Injury and what are the different types?
A brain injury is any type of injury that causes damage to the brain. How you acquire this injury can vary.
An acquired brain injury (ABI) happens after birth and can be classed as:
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Non-traumatic brain injury
In addition, the brain can be injured before birth. Usually a result of congenital or genetic conditions.
The brain may otherwise suffer damage because of a neurodegenerative disease such as Huntington’s disease.
Below an explanation on the 2 types of Acquired brain injury and how they are different.
1. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – How is it caused and what are the different severity levels?
A traumatic brain injury can be caused by any number of incidents such as falls, physical assaults, road traffic accidents and even a penetrating injury such as a gunshot wound.
There are varying degrees of severity of traumatic brain injury:
- Mild traumatic injury
- Moderate traumatic injury
- Severe traumatic injury
The classification for the severity are based on a number of factors and include duration of loss of consciousness, duration of post traumatic amnesia (PTA) and their score on Glasgow Coma Scale.
Clients with no or minimal loss of conscious and no obvious signs of confusion (PTA) will score high on the Glasgow Coma Scale.
They will be classed as having a mild traumatic brain injury.
The Glasgow Coma Scale is designed to measure your level of responsiveness and if you are able to follow all commands you will score 15/15 and this score decreases as your confusion increases.
If you are unconscious you will score 3 (which is the least you can score).
If you have suffered a moderate traumatic brain injury you are likely to be presenting as confused and will have difficulty following some of the instructions to complete the Glasgow Coma Scale.
This confusion may continue for up to 24 hours.
If you have suffered a severe traumatic brain injury you will present with increase confusion and will score lower on the Glasgow Coma Scale, as you follow less of the commands and this confusion may last a few days and for some people ever longer.
2. Non-traumatic brain injury – How is it defined and what types are there?
If you suffer a stroke, haemorrhage, tumour, aneurysm, or infection of the brain such as encephalitis or meningitis then this would be classed a non-traumatic brain injury.
As with the TBI the damage caused can be localised to a small area such as a stroke.
But it can also be widespread damage across the brain from meningitis or encephalitis.
A hypoxic brain injury is caused when the blood flow to the brain is partially disrupted. An anoxic brain injury is when the blood to the brain is totally blocked.
Why might the blood supply to the brain be blocked?
There are many reason when the blood supply to the brain may be fully or partially blocked.
Here are just a few:
If you suffer a cardiac arrest and your heart stops beating then the blood flow to the brain will be affected.
If you injure a major artery and you are losing blood, then the supply of blood and oxygen to the head is decreased.
A stroke may block a vessel and prevent part of the brain from receiving oxygen.
If you suffered a severe head trauma then swelling to the brain can also decrease the blood flow around the brain.
How is an oxygen supply provided?
The purpose of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is to keep the heart pumping and to provide an oxygen supply.
Other interventions include an intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring to measure the build-up of pressure in the skull.
In some cases a craniotomy is preformed to remove part of the skull to prevent the swelling restricting the blood flow.
Common Brain Injury Symptoms
Whether you are injured by a traumatic or non-traumatic event the symptoms vary for individual to individual.
The impact will be based on a few things:
- The severity (as described above).
- Whether the injury is localised in area or widespread.
- Whether there is secondary damaged caused by lack of oxygen to the brain.
In mild injuries the symptoms are likely to be temporary. But in severe injuries the symptoms will often be long lasting and life changing.
The symptoms will depend on what part is affected and may include some of the following
- A change in personality
- Difficulty with short term memory
- Difficulty with concentration
- Difficulty with planning and organising
- Difficulty with motivation
- Difficulty with fatigue
- Difficulty processing information
- Increased impulsivity
- Difficulty with language skills
- Lack of insight into their difficulties
- Difficult with movement
- Difficulty with sensory processing
- Difficulty talking
- Difficulty swallowing
If you need to talk to someone impartial about a brain injury in your family, please fill the form out below.