What is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

What is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

If you’re visiting us here at MindWorks, it may be because you or someone you love has suffered from a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). But what is TBI? What does it mean?

A TBI is caused by something that happens outside the body, it is not caused by genetics, substances introduced to the body, viral infections or other significant events inside the body (stroke, heart attack, etc). For example, a person could suffer a TBI from an assault or fall, a gunshot wound or combat injury, car or motorcycle accidents, sports injuries or partner violence. Babies have received TBIs due to Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Now we know what TBI is, but what does it mean? What impact will it have on your life or your loved one’s life?

Traumatic brain injury can have a variety of impacts on a person’s lifestyle and day-to-day functionality. They can experience behavioural changes that could have them becoming more impulsive, difficult to work with or be in relationship with. They may struggle with communication and concentration or other cognitive impairments. They can be emotionally fragile and prone to bouts of depression, bursts of anger or debilitating anxiety. They may experience life-changing headaches, fatigue and body pain.

They just may not be “themselves”, in so many ways.

But how long does it take to recover and return to the way things were? What can be done to help recovery?

Because each TBI is unique in its impact and severity, there is no definite timeline for recovery which can make it very difficult for both the injured person and their caregivers. Treatment plans will also vary from person to person depending on the severity, the impacts and the tools and resources available to them.

Home-based, or community rehabilitation can be a useful tool for recovery. It allows therapists and caregivers to come into the home and customize treatment based on the unique living situation and lifestyle needs of the individual. It recognizes that each person is unique, and has their own set of interests, problems, and expectations. For Rehabilitation Support Workers, such as those that work with MindWorks, home-based rehabilitation allows them to see and use the tools that their clients have access to and want to learn to use safely. Working on recovery at home helps to build resilience, self-reliance, and independence. Independence is so painful to lose and is one of the first things clients say they want back. The goal of an in-home Rehabilitation Support Worker is always to help people help themselves, in order to regain that independence.

In-home support also creates a valuable and reliable connection for clients with brain injury. The scheduled appointments provide consistency and something to look forward to. Appointments might focus on physical activities (walks, prescribed physical therapy movements, etc.) or they might be about cooking, playing games, doing laundry; activities that foster independence and build confidence. Strategies can also be created and practiced for taking medication, remembering appointments, making phone calls and performing other day-to-day activities that many of us take for granted. All of this is based on the needs of each client and works in conjunction with family wishes and the health care professional team’s guidance.

An added bonus of in-home rehabilitation? The few hours spent with a Rehabilitation Support Worker can provide much needed downtime for the daily caregiver. They can take some deep breaths, have a nap, go for a walk, take a shower or go get some groceries – whatever they need to do – without worry. The value of this cannot be understated.

Traumatic Brain Injury can have lasting effects on the injured and those that care for them. With support, recovery can progress in a way that allows everyone to accept, grow and thrive in their new lifestyle.

If you want to talk about your experience with TBI and how our services can help support you, please email admin@mindworksgroup.ca or call 705-741-3412.