What is Head Injury Rehabilitation?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 29 December 2019
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Head injury rehabilitation is the process of rehabilitating someone who has suffered from a traumatic brain injury. The type and extent of the injury will determine the type of rehabilitation required. Head injury rehabilitation typically involves more than one healthcare provider. They will work together to help the injured patient regain as much function as possible. With aggressive rehabilitation, it is possible for many people with brain injuries to return to functional and productive lives.

Immediately after a head injury, the patient will receive treatment for the initial injury in the intensive care unit of a hospital. Once the head injury stabilizes, physicians can determine the extent of damage, and transfer the patient to a step-down unit in the hospital, such as sub acute care, or transfer the patient directly into a rehabilitation hospital. A neuropsychologist will evaluate all aspects of the patient's injury to determine what areas of language, motor, behavioral, and cognitive functions are damaged, and the best method for rehabilitation. The physician will write an individualized plan of rehabilitation for the patient, which will take into consideration the specific and changing needs of the patient.


It is unlikely that the patient will receive care from only one caregiver. Generally, head injury rehabilitation includes help from speech pathologists, occupational and physical therapists, psychologists, and social workers who will all help the patient come to terms with lifestyle changes. The care needs of the patient changes as rehabilitation progresses, and the patient will be assigned a team coordinator to keep track of the patient's progress overall, and adjust the therapy schedule accordingly.

While the main goal of head injury rehabilitation is to repair damage and reestablish the connections damaged by the brain injury, it serves another important role as well. Brain injuries are difficult to treat, and do not always respond to treatment in the way that is expected. Head injury rehabilitation must also provide the patient with coping methods for living with the results of brain injury, and provides him or her with ways to compensate for damages that are not expected to heal. This form of rehabilitation is important for head injury patients because these types of injuries often leave patients difficult to get along with, easily frustrated, and argumentative. Coping mechanisms are important for long-term success, whether the patient plans to seek employment, return to school, or even just to maintain relationships with family members.



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