Even Small Improvements Post-Brain Injury Can Help the Body and the Mind

Question: 

I'm a healthcare provider for a group home in Michigan. One of my residents in the home is really struggling and I want to find out what rehab care we could offer him to help him recover some quality of life.

The man is in his 50s and sustained a TBI about three years ago in a car crash. He can walk with a cane but he has to be helped and he tires easily. His right leg has poor circulation and less strength than his left leg. He can hardly move his right arm and it has to be in a brace at all times except when he goes to bed. He also has a hard time with bladder control. He can hardly talk and sometimes has difficulty understanding what other people are saying to him.

He is very depressed and it shows; he does not want to get out of bed and seems to have given up on himself. What sorts of PT or other therapies might help him find some meaning in his life?

Answer: 

It is wonderful that you want to find out how to help this resident, and as you know, the symptoms that you describe are common complications of traumatic brain injury. However, it is difficult to tell from your description whether and to what extent the resident has had prior therapy services focusing on the deficits that resulted from the TBI.

It would be best for him to be evaluated by a physician and/or other therapists who specialize in the complications of TBI, in order to improve his quality of life. These therapies would focus on evaluating and improving his ability to perform functional skills such as walking and dressing, cognitive abilities, and emotional state, in addition to addressing his arm and leg weakness and speech capacity.

There are many experienced professionals and rehabilitation centers that specialize in the evaluation and restoration of function for people with TBI. Making any improvements with therapy will no doubt help ease some of this depression.

Posted on BrainLine August 14, 2013. Reviewed December 13, 2017.