A family member suffers a traumatic brain injury in a car accident in Butler. It's a devastating event. A helicopter airlifts them from the scene and takes them to the hospital. They stay there for weeks before finally getting released.
In that time, you start reading up on TBIs and learning about the types of treatments your loved one -- maybe it's a spouse or a child -- is going to need after they come home. What you find is that long-term rehabilitation with trained professionals goes a long way toward recovery.
Whom will they need to work with? That depends on the specifics of the case. Every injury is different. To get you started, though, here are 10 different professionals who may help:
- An occupational therapist: This individual helps people relearn skills that they lost or improve skills that have suffered due to the injury.
- A physiatrist: This doctor helps with general rehabilitation, including medication usage.
- A physical therapist: This person helps specifically with physical rehabilitation issues, such as walking, balance and mobility.
- A neuropsychologist: This person helps with cognitive rehabilitation and helps assess the level of impairment. They can help your loved one with emotional and psychological issues, perhaps by showing them different coping tactics.
- A speech pathologist: As the name implies, this person assists with speech issues and communication skills.
- A social worker: This person helps with many of the logistical needs, such as connecting with service agencies, communicating with medical professionals and making important decisions.
- A traumatic brain injury nurse specialist: This medical professional gives care specifically for a TBI and helps educate you and other family members about how you can help and what the process looks like.
- A rehabilitation nurse: This nurse helps more with day-to-day rehabilitation care. Your loved one may have to visit or live at a rehab center after getting out of the hospital.
- A vocational counselor: This person may be one of the most important professionals in your loved one's life if they want to become independent again after the injury. They help determine their ability to go back to work, they look into new vocational opportunities that match their current skills, and they give your loved one resources to help them find a role and overcome hurdles in their job search.
- A recreational therapist: This individual helps with leisure activities and general time management during this complicated process.
Will your loved one need to work with all of the professionals listed above? Maybe not. Again, all cases are different. But this list gives you a good place to start. Remember that these services can be expensive, so you need to know what legal rights you may have to seek financial compensation in Pennsylvania when someone else caused the injury.