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Brain Injury

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Mission

  • Prevention of medical
    complications
  • Prevention of disability
  • Early detection of late
    medical complications of neurological injury
  • Earliest possible transition
    to home or outpatient-based continuing care
  • Preparation of
    family/caregivers to assist them in aiding recovery

Scope

This program is designed for
adolescents and adults who have suffered traumatic
brain injury, anoxic brain injury, and non-traumatic
insults to brain which are of a generalized nature
(for example: metabolic encephalopathy, carbon
monoxide poisoning, encephalopathy post status epilepticus).

Program Director

James
Whitlock, MD, has served as brain injury
rehabilitation program director since 1987. His areas
of special interest include recovery from coma and
severe brain injury, treatment of spasticity/dystonias, and analysis of rehabilitation
outcomes.

Program Features

The NRH Brain Injury Program
offers a designated brain injury unit with access to
quiet treatment space, ability to accommodate family
members who might wish to stay with an adolescent
inpatient, a specially designed padded bed within a
quiet room to allow avoidance of passive or chemical
restraints during periods of agitation and an alarm
system on the unit to enhance supervision of patients
who are mobile but not yet safe to be independent
within the facility. Team members are well-trained in
crisis-intervention techniques for safely managing
the unique behavioral challenges occasionally
encountered in the recovery from brain injury. They
also offer expertise in the special problems of
traumatic/non-traumatic brain dysfunction.

Inpatient programming is designed
to focus upon and remove those issues which stand as
barriers to therapy at home or as an outpatient.
While the differences between the severely-injured
people we work with tend to be great, there are some
recurring themes within our program. Upon admission,
we attempt to ensure that the physiologic stage is
set for recovery. This means attention to nutrition
and metabolism, avoidance of medications which are
not strongly indicated, address of pain when known or
suspected, and vigilance for some of the possible
late complications of injury to the nervous system.
Therapeutic activities during the acute inpatient
stay tend to be focused upon prevention or reversal
of contracture, and early attainment of competence in
feeding, toileting, mobility, communication and basic
self-care. Family involvement is encouraged, with
guidance provided regarding how best to be supportive
at different levels of interactivity and cognitive
ability. Instruction, case management, and
identification of relevant community and/or health
care resources are used to prepare for transition to
non-inpatient rehabilitation.

Specialized medical/surgical
consultation is available in such disciplines as
general and neuro-ophthalmology, otolaryngology, physiatry,
epileptology, and neuropsychology, as
needed (see
directory
).