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Medical Professionals for TBI Treatment & Rehabilitation

Survivors of traumatic brain injury are likely to receive hospital and rehabilitative care from a wide range of professionals. Indeed, a multi-disciplinary treatment and rehabilitative approach is justified in cases of traumatic brain injury. A very brief summary of the role each professional may play follows. Note, however, that the needs of each patient are unique, and many of the following specialists may not therefore be required. Likewise, still other patients may require the services of orthopedics, otolaryngologists, and others, not discussed below.

doctor with stethoscope and chart

(a) Neurosurgeon.

Physician specialist trained in the surgical intervention of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscle. Often- times the team coordinator in cases of “moderate” to “severe” traumatic brain injury.

(b) Neurologist.

Physician specialist trained in medical treatment of nervous system, including brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles. May be called upon to diagnose injury and consult on immediate medical care. Seek neuropsychologist opinion if injury called “mild” or “short-term”

(c) Physiatrist.

Physician specialist with emphasis both in physical medicine and rehabilitative medicine. Directed at renewing function, these doctors are trained both in neurology and orthopedics.

(d) Neuropsychologist.

Psychologist specialist trained to assess brain function through test batteries designed to measure cognitive deficits. Thereafter, selects and conducts rehabilitative efforts.

(e) Respiratory/Pulmonary Therapist.

Trained therapist that assist the pulmonary needs of a patient, including maintenance of ventilators employed to insure clear airways, especially on comatose patients.

(f) Physical Therapist.

Trained therapist whose focus is on motor function, coordination, balance, and endurance. Physical therapists actually work with the patient exercising and strengthening muscles.

(g) Occupational Therapist.

Trained therapist teaching rehabilitation skills to the patient. The focus is on helping the patient resume activities in their day-to-day life.

Areas of training may include:

  • Feeding
  • Bathing and grooming
  • Toileting
  • Dressing
  • Getting in/out of chairs, beds, bathtubs
  • Driving skills
  • Wheelchair use
  • Cooking
  • Household management skills

doctor with face mask

(h) Speech Pathologist.

Trained specialist whose sole focus is on speech and communication deficits. This can include helping the patient to speak clearly and express their ideas into words, as well as improve social interactions.

Depending on severity of deficit, oral communication, written communication and computer training may be utilized and/or analyzed.

(i)Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors.

Trained counselors, whose task is to identify, generally through comprehensive testing, those transferable skills, which will help restore the patient to the work force.

Tests can include the Crawford Small Parts Test, the Bennett Hand Tool Test, the Purdue Peg Board Test, the Wrest Packaging Test, various motor coordination tests, manual dexterity test, form perception test, problem solving test, visual speed and accuracy test, verbal comprehension test, and weight lifting and carrying test. Victims of traumatic brain injury face almost insurmountable challenges to job re-entry. Vocational rehabilitation counselors are key to their re-entry to the work force.

(j) Rehabilitation Case Manager.

Generally a rehabilitation case specialists” job is to coordinate the goals of the patient and patient’s family. The case manager coordinates rehabilitative staff and serves as an advocate for the patient. Case managers” work directly with the family and oftentimes deal with the intricacies of insurance and funding for treatment.

(k) Recreational Therapist

The role of the recreational therapist is to provide a patient with activities to improve socialization and help them cope with isolation. They plan outings and recreational activities such as sports to help patients thrive in social settings.

If you or someone you know has been injured or suffered Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI, you need the assistance of the Scarlett Law Group.
Call (415) 688-2176 today to speak with a California Personal Injury Attorney.

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