Treatment and Rehabilitation After a Traumatic Brain Injury

The prognosis for Traumatic Brain Injury treatment and rehabilitation—the prospects of returning to a fulfilling life after an injury—depends in large part on whether the victim seeks medical evaluation promptly, whether he/she complies with the directives of healthcare professionals, and whether he/she gets access to resources and help with things that may be intimidating or overwhelming, including legal counsel from a personal injury attorney.

The Brain Injury Association of America provides the following list of specialists, whose expertise may be critical for a TBI victim’s recovery[i]:

  • Neurosurgeon: An expert in diseases and conditions of the nervous system. Often the attending physician who manages the case.
  • Neurologist: A physician who specializes in the nervous system and its disorders.
  • Pulmonologist: A physician who manages problems with respiration and lung disorders.
  • Physiatrist: A physician who specializes in physical medication and rehabilitation.
  • Orthopedic Surgeon: A surgeon who specializes in diseases of the bones and treats injuries to the limbs and back.
  • Neuropsychologist: A psychologist with specialized training in relationships between the brain and behavior.
  • Nurses: Nursing staff provides direct patient care in all phases of the recovery process including administering oral and intravenous medications, positioning patients, and carrying out physicians’ orders.
  • Physical Therapist: Evaluates components of movement, including muscle strength, tone, posture, coordination, endurance, and general mobility.
  • Occupational Therapist: Focuses on reestablishing the activities of daily living, self-care, and upper body motor skills.
  • Speech/Language Pathologist: Responsible for evaluating and assisting with swallowing problems, communication difficulties, and cognitive deficits.
  • Respiratory Therapist: A person skilled in operating machines to aid breathing and keep the airway open.
  • Social Worker/Case Manager: A liaison between the professional team and other parties concerned with the patient.

[i] Challenges, Changes, and Choices: A Brain Injury Guide for Families and Caregivers. Copyright Brain Injury Association of America authored by Carolyn Rocchio. See especially pp. 5-6