Can my loved one recover from a TBI?

Understanding the multiple forms of traumatic brain injuries, how these injuries may be assessed and what treatment or rehabilitation options may exist is important for the relatives or supporters of a person who has experienced a TBI.

Head injuries occur in a variety of situations and no two such injuries are alike, in part because no two people are alike. A single blow to the head may result in a person being slightly or temporarily disoriented or it may result in permanent and significant impairment.

West Virginia residents with family members who have experienced accidents that have contributed to traumatic brain injuries should understand the process of evaluating their loved one's condition and potential for rehabilitation.

Initial assessments of TBI severity

One of the first steps in determining what a person's future may be like after sustaining a traumatic brain injury is assessing the nature and severity of the injury. As explained by The Mayo Clinic, medical professionals rate a patient's injury or status using what is called the Glasgow Coma Scale. This test evaluates a person's ability to speak, understand material, follow instructions and move his or her arms and legs. After reviewing all aspects of the test, a score ranging from 3 to 15 is provided. The lower the score, the more severe the injury to the brain. The severity of the TBI may impact the patient's long-term rehabilitation potential.

A patient may also undergo additional testing, such as an MRI or a CAT scan, to aid medical staff with diagnostic efforts or preparing rehabilitation plans.

Primary and secondary injuries

Brainline indicates that a head injury may cause primary and secondary injuries for the patient. A primary injury is one that results directly from the impact or event. For example, a pedestrian hit by a vehicle may hit his or her head on the vehicle or the ground and the impact may contribute to the development of a hematoma in the skull cavity.

A secondary injury is one that results from other changes related to the primary injury. An example of a secondary injury may be swelling in the brain or an injury to brain due to a prolonged lack of oxygen to the brain.

Traumatic brain injury rehabilitation elements

Depending on a person's situation, many types of therapy or treatments may be part of the rehabilitation plan. A treatment team may include a professionals focused on tactical and practical elements of daily life, such as physical, occupational and speech therapists. Social workers, rehabilitation nurses, neuropsychologists or neuropsychiatrists may also be essential members of a rehabilitation team for a TBI patient.

TBI patients deserve assistance

People who sustain traumatic brain injuries due to accidents caused by the negligence of others deserve rehabilitation assistance. They also deserve to have someone advocating for their rights. Working with an attorney experienced in serious personal injuries is recommended for anyone in West Virginia in this type of situation.