Acute Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury

Acute treatment of brain injury aims to stabilize the patient, minimize the secondary injury and provide life support. This stage focuses saving the patient’s life.

Treatments for brain injury vary. It all depends on its severity and the type of the head injury. There are different types of treatment for a traumatic head injury. The initial treatment of traumatic brain injury begins from the moment the patient arrives at the emergency.

In the initial treatment, the trauma team aims to stabilize the patient immediately following the incident. It may take some time before the patient move on to the next kind of treatment as it depends of the capability of the patient to recover from his current condition and also on the severity of the damaged in the patients’ brain.

Three Stages of Brain Injury Treatments

While in the rehabilitative care center treatment this aims to restore the patients’ ability to perform the activities of daily living. In this type of treatment, the medical experts that are involved include a speech therapist, occupational therapist, a physical therapist and a trauma expert.

Acute Treatment

In the acute treatment stage, the aim is to stabilize the patient, minimize the secondary injury, and provide life support. This stage focuses on stabilizing the patient and saving the patient’s life. This involves unblocking the airway, assist the patients’ breathing and keep the blood circulating. A cardio pulmonary resuscitation is also given if needed.

In cases that the patient is still unable to breathe on his own a mechanical ventilator is being provided. This will help the patient to keep the pressure down in the head. A device can also be installed in the brain cavity to help control and monitor the intracranial pressure.

Once the patient is stabilized the hospital personnel will take over they are working to maintain the level of body fluids in the patients’ body and to reduce the risk of infections and prevent any complications.

During the acute treatment stage the patient maybe sedated and put into a drug induced coma. This is done to minimize agitation and secondary injury. Seizures are also common for brain injury patients’ that’s why a seizure prevention medication is given as seizures on this stage can be dangerous for the patients’ health.

One common concern as well is the development of abnormally high or low levels of calcium, sugar, sodium and other blood substances that can aggravate confusion and can trigger seizures.

Traumatic brain injury patients’ are at high risk for infections like pneumonia, sinusitis, and urinary tract infections. that is why treatment, monitoring and prevention is important.

Sub Acute Treatment

This is the stage after stabilizing the patient. It ranges from medical stability to the patient being able to return home or being admitted to a chronic care facility.

Most patients that are admitted to an acute rehabilitation hospital are still in post-traumatic amnesia. The hospital are equipped to manage traumatic brain injury and its complications.

The main goal at this stage is to early detect possible complications, facilitate neurological and functional recovery, and preventing any further injuries to the patient.

In the subacute stage, the staff watches out for the patient obtaining a bed sore or in cases that the patient already have one they are responsible for treating it. They also monitor any muscle contractions, infections, and other complications like fluid accumulation in the brain known as hydrocephalus and subdural hygromas. Cases like this requires surgical treatments.

The patients’ neurological functions often doesn’t improve completely so the rehabilitation program is important. This helps the patient and their families to understand the condition of the patient and any impairments caused by the injury. This encourages the patient and the family to take advantage of the improvements as they happen. In this stage the patient is being taught to try new ways to accomplish a tasks like using one hand in unbuttoning the shirt and how to compensate with memory loss through the use of a log book or a mobile phone to take images or through the use of a calendar.

Preventing injuries is also part of the sub-acute stage most patients undergo treatment because they are experiencing incoordination, poor balance, cognitive impairments and weakness that can place the patient in danger and prone to injuries. This also involves agitation and restlessness and having a well-equipped, well designed and knowledgeable staff in the rehabilitation center is crucial to keep the patient safe.

Chronic Treatment

Disabilities caused by a traumatic brain injury can last a lifetime and the intervention and rehabilitation maybe needed for years. This is usually for patients who has survived a moderate to severe traumatic brain injury.
This stage is call the chronic treatment which is divided into two categories namely the community based treatment and the long term consequences of the injury.

In the community based the patient is treatment happens in an outpatient facility. This includes the speech therapy, physical and occupational therapy.

On the other hand the treatment for TBI consequences qualified neurologists, psychiatrists and neuropsychologists facilitate the treatment and mainly focusing on the residual symptoms of the patient like abnormalities in the muscle tone , chronic pain and depression.

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