Who will help after brain injury?
Members of the health care team will work together with the patient, family, and friends during the hospital stay. Care will be centered on the individual needs of the patient. Family and friends are important members of the team.
- The patient is the most important member of the team. Care will be planned based on how the patient responds to treatment.
- Family and friends:
- You provide emotional support to the patient. Family and friends also provide the health care team with important facts about the patient’s past history and can help watch for changes. Other team members will show you what you can do to help with the recovery process.
- Neurosurgery doctors are specialists who help determine the type of brain injury and its treatment. They may perform surgery on the brain. They will work with other doctors if the patient is in intensive care or has injuries to other parts of the body.
- Nurses check patient's vitals (temperature, blood pressure, heart and breathing rate) and watch for changes in strength and thinking. They help with daily cares such as eating and bathing. Nurses also coordinate care among the members of the health care team.
- Social workers:
- Social workers provide emotional support to help the patient and family adjust to being in the hospital. They coordinate discharge planning, referral to community resources, and answer questions about insurance or disability.
- Physical therapists (PT):
- Physical therapists evaluate and treat weaknesses in the patient's strength, flexibility, balance, rolling, sitting, standing and walking. Treatment may include exercises or instruction in use of equipment such as walkers, canes, or wheelchairs.
- Occupational therapists (OT):
- Occupational therapists evaluate the patient's ability to perform dressing, bathing, homemaking and activities that require memory and organization. They provide treatment or equipment needed for safe independent living.
- Speech therapists:
- Speech therapists test and treat speech, language, thinking and swallowing problems.
- Neuropsychologists test thinking, memory, judgment, emotions, behavior and personality. This information can be used to help guide treatment. It will also help determine the amount of supervision that the patient needs when they leave the hospital.
- Dietitians assess nutritional needs. They work with the patient and other team members to help the patient meet their nutritional goals.
Other staff members may work with the patient and family. These include:
- Respiratory therapists
- Activity therapists
- Child life therapists
- Patient representatives
- Vocational counselors
- Music therapists
- Recreation therapists