Useful Information - Communicating with Brain Injury Survivors – Basic Etiquette
EVERY 23 SECONDS, SOMEBODY SUFFERS A BRAIN INJURY–TWO MILLION PEOPLE ANNUALLY. MANY DIE OR ARE PERMANENTLY DISABLED.
People who have experienced brain injury have their lives profoundly interrupted and irrevocably changed. After prolonged medical recovery and rehabilitation, most of these individuals need to re-engage with the world around them and regain more independence and control over their lives.
A person who survives a brain injury may experience some or all of the following cognitive and physical symptoms as well as many others:
- Short term memory loss
- Slowed thinking
- Difficulty breathing
- Over sensitivity to noise and visual output
- Difficulty with judgment, reasoning
- Difficulty with change
- Difficulty handling emotions (i.e. anger)
- Poor self perception
- Spasticity of limbs
- Speech deficits
- Vision deficits
- Spatial difficulties
- Balance problems
What causes TBI?
The leading causes of TBI are:
- Falls 28%
- Motor vehicle-traffic crashes 20%
- Struck by/against events 19%
- Assaults 11%
An often disappointing struggle
Studies indicate that most individuals who have sustained a brain injury are discharged to return home after receiving intensive rehabilitation therapies in an inpatient setting. Cognitive and other neuropsychological treatment may continue on an outpatient basis. Some of these individuals may be able to return to school or work following a brain injury.
Many people who have sustained a brain injury experience significant changes in cognition, perception and memory as well as in emotional and physical functioning. Such fundamental changes make it difficult, if not impossible, for individuals to resume their previous way of life.
When people are not able to resume everyday activities, the compensatory strategies that may have been painstakingly developed in rehabilitation facilities can quickly diminish and become ineffective. This leads to a frustrating cycle of repeated returns to intensive, medically oriented rehabilitation programs.
Brain injury had been categorized by professionals as a growing “silent epidemic.” The medical advances in identifying, treating and rehabilitating brain injury have contributed to the growing demands for community support and re-integration services.