Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is damage to the brain that occurs after birth. It is not the result of a genetic or congenital disorder or degenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s Disease, ALS or Parkinson’s Disease. There are two types of ABI. The first is the result of damage to the brain as a result of a motor vehicle accident, sports injury, blow to the head or a fall. Non- traumatic brain Injury is damage to the brain as a result of factors such as intracranial aneurysms, brain tumours, anoxia and encephalitis and more.
ABI results in physical, cognitive (e.g. memory and concentration), language, speech, emotional and behavioural impairments. Brain injury is a very complex phenomenon where no two people can have the same resulting difficulty. The outcome of a particular brain injury depends on a number of factors including the nature and severity of the injury. However, the rehabilitation process plays a vital role in determining the level of recovery.
The rehabilitation process involves a multidisciplinary team. In a hospital setting it may include specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation, nursing, respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychiatry, psychology, speech – language pathology, nutrition, social work, and the support of a rehabilitation therapist.
When a person is discharged from the hospital setting, outpatient services need to be put in place. Once again, this will likely involve a team of professionals similar to those found in a hospital setting. Community-based treatment is a very important aspect in the continuum of care. The rehabilitation process should be adapted to each person’s individual needs. Family support and involvement should be a part of any rehabilitation program.
Jeanette Podolsky, S-LP
The Speech Therapy Centres of Canada, Clinical Director
BA (Speech and Hearing Therapy) WITS Reg. CASLPO