Deciphering the Many Therapies in TBI Rehabilitation
Therapy is a broad word that covers an expanse of applications, from relationship therapy to anger management therapy. In general, therapy is any service that works to remediate a physical, mental, or emotional health problem. When someone suffers a traumatic brain injury, multiple therapies are needed simultaneously to overcome the impacts, but it can be confusing and difficult to track and understand the purpose of each. Here is your cheat sheet!
Physiatrist This is the leader of the rehabilitation team who makes the appropriate referrals to other therapists and specialists based on the patient’s needs.
Neuropsychologist A neuropsychologist deals with the thinking and emotional processing in addition to general behavior of a TBI patient. Since many patients don’t realize their injured brain’s alterations and limitations, the neuropsychologist must help the patient understand the problems at hand and recover from them. Poor memory, concentration, and decision-making are three major issues commonly tackled by neuropsychologists. Language and communication abilities are also a vital rehabilitation responsibility of the neuropsychologist.
Physical Therapist Like the name suggests, this type of therapist assists with pain and injuries in the body to minimize any paralysis brought on by the TBI. Specifically, the physical therapist on the patient’s rehabilitation team is there to help the patient to and from bed and provide training and support to achieve improved posture, balance, strength, coordination, and quality of movement.
Occupational Therapist In addition to the brain and body therapies needed to recover from a TBI, a patient also needs an occupational therapist to relearn daily tasks for independence. Vision, writing, showering, and personal hygiene are all common abilities that many TBI patients must relearn after injury. In addition, an occupational therapist helps the patient prepare for entry into society with skills like banking, shopping, cooking, and employment abilities. This therapist’s job is critical to successful transition from TBI patient to recovered citizen.
Speech/Language Pathologist If the part of the brain that controls language ability is injured, a TBI patient needs specialized care to relearn written and/or oral communication skills. The speech and language pathologist trains the patient with skills as needed, even focusing on the muscles in the mouth, throat, and face.
Recreational Therapist A recreational therapist focuses on providing meaningful experiences to the TBI patient that improve and enhance social, motor, cognitive, and leisure skills. Since traumatic brain injury recovery can be such an intense and emotionally taxing process, it’s vital for patients to participate in recreational activities that support a sense of normalcy.
Aquatic Therapist Water offers enormous potential for healing, so an aquatic therapist completes occupational, physical, and recreational therapy in heated water pool. Gaining back strength, coordination, endurance, and muscle control is an easier and more enjoyable process in the water.
This well-rounded rehabilitation team works tirelessly to provide every TBI patient with every bit of therapy needed to true and speedy recovery.