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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Definition: A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a blow to the head that results in a disruption of the normal brain functioning. TBI’s may range from a brief change in cognitive functioning to an extended period of unconsciousness. (Source: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control) TBI’s are some of the more common injuries sustained by nursing home residents.  TBI’s are most common in the elderly population.  iStock_000003126753XSmall1

Facts: How common are TBI’s:

  • 1.4 million American have a TBI each year
  • 52,000 deaths per year
  • 235,000 hospitalizations
  • 1.1 million emergency room treatments

It is a surprise to most people that people 75 and older compose the largest group of TBI patients.  Further, most TBI’s result from falls or physical abuse.  (Falls and nursing home abuse)

Consequences:  It is very difficult to measure the consequence / fallout from TBI’s.  TBI’s have very different symptoms in every person.  While some people who may have a TBI and be able to function, other may suffer from significant cognitive and psychological impairment.  A TBI may effect sensory motor, and automatic functions.  While most of the effects of a TBI may be apparent within a day or two from the initial trauma, many long-term effect do not become apparent until long after the traumatic event.

Treatment: Many elderly who suffer from TBI’s require extensive rehabilitation and physical therapy.  The cost of the rehab is significant– some treatments costs are projected to exceed a million dollar.  The most important treatment is diagnosis.  All treatments are most affective if implemented soon after the initial injury.  In addition to physical therapists and physicians, neuropsychologists are very important in developing a care plan for TBI patients.

For additional information on TBI’s look here.

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