Acquired brain injury is the term used to describe injury to the head. The most frequent cause of brain injury is a result of trauma to the head eg road traffic accident, blow to the head. Brain injury can also occur following bleed, infection or tumour in the brain. These can result in extensive injury to brain tissue.
The effects of brain injury will vary considerably from individual to individual but the consequences can be devastating. The brain controls our movements, emotions and intellectual ability . Any injury to the brain can cause disruption of movement and function, together with disturbances in sensation, vision, speech, behaviour and cognition such as memory, understanding and processing information. The severity of symptoms will largely depend on the extent of injury
It is imperative that rehabilitation following an acquired brain injury involves all team members. A collaborative team assessment by a NeuroPhysiotherapist, Occupational therapist, Speech Therapist, Psychologist, Orthotist, Nurses and Doctors is crucial. and liaison by all team members is vital to optimise a person’s potential. Progress maybe be at a slow pace and continue for many months and even years post injury.
Physiotherapy is involved from initial onset and plays a pivotal role in managing this condition. Given the extent and complexity of symptoms treatment may continues long after discharge from hospital. The focus of rehabilitation will change from optimising function in the early days to maintaining improvements and preventing secondary problems such as pain, discomfort and deterioration in function. These are typical complaints that we would address on a long term basis. Physiotherapy may therefore be involved in management of symptoms for many years after initial injury although this maybe on an intermittent basis with periodic reviews and short bursts of treatment as needed . Continual assessment and collaboration with team members and family throughout the rehabilitation program is essential to address the spectrum of problems and changing cognitive , behavioural and physical needs.
At Dublin Physiotherapy clinic we have a good understanding of the complexity of this disorder and highly experienced in managing its associated problems.
Headway a the voluntary organisation in Ireland dedicated to helping persons with head injury. They are a valuable resource and provide support and ongoing training. For further information contact www.headway.ie