One of the keys to ensuring that recovery from a brain injury is as rapid and complete as possible is to choose the right kind of treatment center. There are several different kinds of centers available to people with traumatic brain injury.
Acute hospitals are generally used during the early phases of brain injury, as they are designed to provide emergency care, minimize complications and long-term effects, and provide early treatment. A person who has suffered a brain injury should be treated in an acute hospital, or in an acute unit within a hospital, until he or she has stabilized. The length of stay in an acute hospital depends upon the severity of the brain injury, the length of the coma, whether surgery is necessary, and the presence of complications.
What Are Rehabilitation Units?
Once the patient is stable, he or she is usually moved to the rehabilitation unit within the hospital, or is referred to a rehabilitation hospital. This is where the patient begins the road to recovery, and may receive services such as physical therapy, counseling, speech and language therapy, cognitive therapy, or a combination of some or all of the above. Since the rehab unit or hospital a patient or a patient's family chooses will have an impact on the recuperation of the person with the brain injury, you want to make sure that the chosen unit or hospital offers the best care possible.
- Ask if they have CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities). Not all facilities have this accreditation, but those that do must meet a certain standard of care.
- Be sure to tour the centers before you choose one, and ask if they have any outcome data that they can share with you.
- Ask for the estimated length of stay as well as what therapies will be used in the rehabilitation process, so you can share this with your insurance company.
Once the patient completes his or her rehabilitation program, they are often moved into a post-acute program. There are several different kinds of programs that fall under this category, including:
- Home care.
- Assisted living.
- Outpatient programs for continued therapies.
- Nursing facilities.
- Vocational rehabilitation.
The goal of post-acute programs is to support the patient in a successful re-entry into the community, school, and work.