Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a complex injury with a broad spectrum of symptoms that can cause a number of impairments or disabilities. The impact of a TBI on a person and his or her family can be devastating, since this injury is not only physical, but can cause mental and emotional challenges in the patient.
Although caring for someone with a TBI can be difficult, Interim HealthCare can help families who find they have to cope with the unexpected effects of a sudden injury to the brain. Whether it's providing a family with respite, personal care support services or assisting in nursing care, Interim HealthCare can help.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
TBI is defined as an acquired injury to the brain that is caused by trauma - whether from the head violently hitting an object or an object piercing the skull and entering the brain. TBIs are frequently found in members of the military who have served in war, since explosive blasts and combat injuries can result in head injuries, whether through pressure passing through the skull or penetrating wounds.
TBI is also caused by falls, vehicle-related collisions, violence and sports injuries in people of all ages. Mild TBI, also known as a concussion, can cause temporary dysfunction of brain cells that may result in dizziness, memory, sensory or concentration problems. More serious TBI can cause bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage in the brain. This type of injury can result in an altered consciousness, seizures, infections, nerve damage, loss of coordination and control of bodily functions as well as cognitive and communication problems. It can also cause behavioral and emotional issues.
Following a mild TBI, patients may experience loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes, dizziness or loss of balance, memory and concentration problems, headaches, mood and sleep changes, and sensitivity to light or sound.
Patients with a moderate to severe TBI may have any of these symptoms as well as profound confusion, agitation, slurred speech, convulsions, pupil dilation and loss of coordination. They may also lose control of bodily functions, have worsening headaches, and episodes of nausea and vomiting.
Primary concerns when treating TBI are ensuring proper oxygen supply to the brain and body, as well as maintaining an adequate blood flow and managing blood pressure. There are medications and surgeries available to treat the symptoms of TBI but the most important treatment in many cases is rehabilitation. Patients may require services from a Psychiatrist, occupational and physical therapist, as well as speech pathologists. Psychiatrists and social workers may help individuals and families to manage behavior changes and learn coping strategies. Maintaining skin integrity (avoiding skin ulcers) and appropriate nutrition may also be challenges a person with TBI faces.