Traumatic Brain Injury, TBI, as described here: Any injury to the brain. The injury could be caused by an accident, assault, stroke, cardiovascular incident, etc.
This was written to assist the individual survivor, advocate or caregiver.
Obligatory disclaimer: The following is supplied for your information only, read it, research it and become knowledgeable. I am not a medical doctor I do not practice medicine, cannot and do not prescribe, I recommend that you decide, ask questions (the decision must be yours) and that you become knowledgeable.
What everyone with a TBI or advocating for the individual, must know and understand.
First, some basics, the medical crisis part of the TBI is over.
You, your loved one, relative or friend is now medically stable and can be discharged from the hospital. Ideally this means that the individual with the TBI is healthy enough to be released from the hospital and is not in danger of dying and this may be true. However, what possibly is taking place, is that the insurance benefits have run-out and the financial support to keep them in a hospital setting is no longer there. In any event the patient has been released, and if they are fortunate, will have someone that is able to help them so that they do not need to be discharged to a skilled care facility (nursing home). There are rehabilitation facilities, where a survivor can go to receive assistance from trained Occupational, Physical and Speech therapists, counselor, nurse, medical doctor (usually available part time), recreation specialist, job placement specialist and alternative therapies specialist. These comprehensive rehabilitation facilities or programs also require the survivor to have some type of financial support. It is rare that an individual can pay for these places using their own resources. Home therapy is available, which also must be paid for.
The reality of today dictates that at some time, rehabilitated or not, the individual that has suffered the TBI is released into their life, with or without assistance to: work, care for themselves, perform activities of daily living (eating, cooking, brushing their teeth, bathing, etc.), be mobile, communicate, learn, go to school, be with friends, and much more. Participate in as [normal] a life as possible.
Safety is a concern for everyone and a major concern for TBI. Medical stability is the first concern and the degree of medical stability will determine how much and what physical activity can be tolerated, what food they can eat, how long they can be left alone, how much they can do for themselves and much more. The degree of medical stability should be determined by the doctor, nurse, OT, PT, and Speech therapists. They can be specific and can give you explicit guidelines concerning what can be tolerated and what should not be tolerated. Get all of the specific information you can in writing. Obtain copies of rehabilitation notes, hospital discharge summary and start studying to make yourself as knowledgeable as possible, about what has happen to you or the person you are taking care of, what may be happening, what can happen, what options are available. Research the prescribed medications that have been taken and are being taken, including possible side effects and interactions with other drugs or medications.
Becoming independent and as functional as possible.
An individual with a TBI must be encouraged to do as much as possible for themselves as soon as possible. Understand that in most hospital settings a patient cannot and does not care for themselves. Outside of the hospital the TBI individual is not a patient and must re-learn to care for themselves, (as much for themselves as possible), and in some cases they will need to do more for themselves than before their TBI incident. Learning to be functionally independent is important in the recovery process. Being too much of a mother, doing more than is necessary for them is not helping. The least and most that you can do for an individual recovering and rehabilitating from a TBI is to show them that you care, create a safe environment, help them to learn and help them to do when necessary.