Traumatic brain injury treatment revolves around getting intervention to the patient as quickly as possible and then providing support through recovery. Care providers generally divide treatment into acute, covering immediate treatment needs; subacute, used once the patient is stabilized; and chronic, the long term care provided to brain injury patients to help them recover as much as possible. The best treatment is available through facilities specializing in brain injury care and patients may be transferred, if possible, to get access to better treatment.
In traumatic brain injuries, there is a period of time known as the “golden hour” immediately after the injury. During this period, injury is still ongoing, and intervention can be used to reduce the severity of the injury and prevent long term damage caused by swelling in the brain and other issues. Traumatic brain injury treatment ideally starts as soon as possible in the golden hour and can include surgery to relieve pressure in the brain, respiratory ventilation if the patient is having trouble breathing, and surgical procedures to treat the patient if other acute injuries are present.
Once the initial injury is stabilized, intercranial pressure monitors are usually installed so care providers can keep an eye on pressure inside the skull. If pressure starts to rise, intervention may be required. Supportive care appropriate to the patient's needs, like ventilation and fluids, can also be offered. During the subacute stage of traumatic brain injury treatment, care providers can also start to assess the level of damage and this information can be used to develop a rehabilitation program.
Patients may experience an extended period of unconsciousness or altered level of consciousness after a severe brain injury. During this period, people are often encouraged to visit the patient, even if the patient cannot respond and engage. Once patients have started to recover, they can enter therapy to relearn skills like walking, talking, and so forth. The level of therapy required depends on the injury and some patients may require long term traumatic brain injury treatment for their condition.
One aspect of chronic traumatic brain injury treatment can be developing adaptations to help a patient navigate the world with permanent impairments. This may include measures to assist patients with memory loss, teaching patients to use assistive devices, and providing mobility rehabilitation to help patients with permanent mobility impairments caused by their brain injuries. This process can be frustrating for some patients and their friends and family, as it requires a great deal of hard work. High-quality rehabilitation provided by people with extensive experience and training, even years after an injury, can be very beneficial for patients, including patients with mood disorders and behavioral problems caused by brain injuries.