Has Your Loved One Recently Suffered A TBI? What You Should Expect
If you have a loved one who has suffered from a traumatic brain injury (commonly referred to as a TBI), you may find yourself wondering what you can expect from the recovery process. Every person with a TBI will have different and specific needs and treatment goals. However, the main components of treatment programs are often the same, and the ultimate goal is to help the person recover and get as much mental and physical function back as possible after their brain injury. Get to know some of the basic treatments that you can expect your loved one to have as they go through the recovery process so that you can help provide them with the support that they will need.
Physical and Occupational Therapy
While many people think about traumatic brain injuries as having to do with a person's cognitive abilities including memory, intelligence, and the like, brain injuries can be much more extensive in terms of the extent of the damage and the areas of the body affected. After all, the brain is the central hub of every process and function in the body from keeping the heart beating to voluntary gross and fine motor skills.
Because of all of the physical limitations and issues that can be caused by a TBI, physical therapy and occupational therapy are often a part of the core treatment program. When a person suffers a TBI, their head and their neck often experience significant trauma. Additionally, the rest of the body can suffer immediate trauma as well as long term issues because the brain may need to relearn basic skills like walking, gripping objects, and more.
Physical therapy helps with overall motor functions and works to help with those injuries to the neck and the rest of the body. Occupational therapy, on the other hand, helps with the tasks of daily living like getting dressed, cooking, operating a motor vehicle, or other work and life-related tasks.
Speech therapy is also a major part of the process of recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Brain injuries can cause numerous issues with speech and thought. A person may forget what they were saying mid-sentence, not remember the correct names for objects, or have a stutter or stammer. They could also jumble sentences or lose their ability to speak and form words altogether.
A speech therapist will help with any issues that your loved one may have with their speech and their ability to form thoughts and words. This can include flashcard exercises, exercises that ask them to write lists of words based on categories or first letters of the word, and other exercises to help with physically speaking and forming words.
Oftentimes, people with traumatic brain injuries find some of the speech therapy tasks quite frustrating and may become angry or defensive about the process. This is because speech and thinking are such an intimate part of how a person views themselves and how the rest of the world views them. It is important to be supportive and encouraging but also understanding if they lash out or feel frustrated. Do not take it personally. Just continue to show them that you will support them through their recovery even if they have a bad day or therapy session now and then.
With all of this in mind, you can better know the basics of what to expect when your loved one is recovering from a TBI.