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The long road to recovery after a traumatic brain injury

One brief moment can change the lives of Minnesota residents forever. There is perhaps no better example of this than when an individual suffers a traumatic brain injury. At the same time, every brain injury is different, and the kind of therapy that is necessary to treat the injury will also vary depending on the nature of the injury involved.

Treatment for a moderate to severe brain injury often begins in the emergency room, followed by treatment at an intensive care unit. The goal during this time is typically to stabilize the injury and prevent a medical crisis. Different equipment can be used to accomplish these goals, including a ventilator, a Foley catheter, a nasogastric tube, an EKG machine and a pulse oximeter.

Early on in the recovery process, individuals will usually begin acute rehabilitation. By working with a team of health professionals, the individual will seek to regain as many daily living activities as possible, including dressing, eating, toileting, walking and speaking. In postacute and subacute rehabilitation, individuals will attempt to regain independent functioning.

Following this rehabilitation, the individual may receive outpatient therapy to maintain and enhance their recovery. This type of therapy may also be used for those individuals who did not suffer brain injuries serious enough to require hospitalization. Other options like community re-entry programs and independent living programs continue the focus on developing high level motor, social and cognitive skills and living as independently as possible.

Ultimately, the kind of therapy that will be used in a given case will depend on the nature of the brain injury involved. The common thread between many injuries, however, is that a high amount of medical expenses may be required in order properly treat and rehabilitate the person from the injury. These medical expenses are one measure of damages that may be recovered in a personal injury action against a negligent person who caused the injury.

Source: Brain Injury Association of America, "Treatment," accessed on Dec. 19, 2015

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