Because brain injuries are so different, no two rehabilitations programs are the same. Rather, brain injury rehabilitation programs should be individualized according to the patient’s unique needs. The goal of rehabilitation is to help the person with the brain injury regain as much brain function as possible. Rehabilitation may include therapies designed to help the patient relearn everyday activities such as talking or walking, or they may be geared toward helping the patient compensate for permanent damage.
When the person with the brain injury is stable, he or she will be moved to an acute rehabilitation unit. These are inpatient units designed to allow the patient access to a wide variety of therapies and specialists. Acute rehabilitation may include:
- Physical therapy to help the patient improve muscle strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and coordination.
- Occupational therapy to help with actions necessary for daily living, such as feeding, swallowing, bathing, grooming, dressing, homemaking, money management, and other necessary life skills.
- Speech/language therapy to help express himself or herself, as well as comprehend what is being said.
- Recreational therapy to help with activities that improve and enhance self-esteem, motor skills, social skills, cognitive skills, and leisure skills.
- Psychology or counseling to help with thinking skills, behavior, and emotions.
Subacute rehabilitation is a less intensive level of therapy, and is generally provided over a longer period of time than acute rehab. Most people who enter subacute rehabilitation have made some progress in function but are still progressing. Subacute rehabilitation often takes place at a nursing facility.
This is for the patient who continues to progress enough to return home in the evenings. This type of rehab takes place in a hospital or nursing facility, and occurs throughout the majority of the day.
This type of rehabilitation is for the person who has made significant gains, but would like to continue to progress in certain areas. In addition, a person with a mild or moderate brain injury that did not require hospitalization may use outpatient rehabilitation to deal with any functional issues as a result of the injury.
Community Re-entry Rehabilitation
This type of rehabilitation prepares a person with a brain injury to return to work, school, and life.