A traumatic brain injury (TBI) causes damage to the tissues of the brain and can cause cognitive and behavioral problems as well as affect motor skills and reduce the ability to live independently. TBIs can happen in several ways, including:
- Being in a car accident
- Falling and hitting the head
- Being struck by a falling object, bullet or blow to the head
TBIs can be mild to severe, causing temporary problems to long-term disability and death. Some TBIs can be challenging to diagnose because symptoms may come on gradually after the original injury. Often, the most recognizable symptom of a mild to moderate TBI is that the injury victim may lose consciousness or be disoriented for a short while. Other symptoms that can show up after a TBI include:
- A severe headache
- Problems concentrating
- Pupil dilation
It is critical that a victim of a head injury receive prompt medical attention to assess and diagnose their condition.
While treatment of a TBI needs individualization for the unique needs of each injured person and the severity of their injury, there are some common categories of medical care and rehabilitation, including:
- Emergency care, often in a trauma center
- Inpatient rehabilitation
- Long-term care placement and rehab services
Brain injuries frequently happen due to someone else’s negligence, so often accident victims and their families pursue civil litigation to compensate for the expense and suffering due to the injury.
Maximizing Independence Is Key
Whatever the level of prognosis post-injury, it is essential to help the victim of a TBI to maximize their independence whenever possible. This includes providing training to support the recovery of cognitive function. Memory aids such as instruction lists for standard daily routines and calendars can help. With support from professionals, family and friends, TBI patients can pursue the best post-injury outcomes possible.