Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation

A physical therapist assistant at William Beaumont Army Medical Center adjusts the headpiece for a TBI patient.
Elizabeth Fuentes, physical therapist assistant at William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, adjusts the headpiece for a patient on the Multi-Cervical Unit to address strengthening of the neck muscles. (Marcy Sanchez/U.S. Army)

Rehabilitation is an important part of the recovery process for a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patient. The overall goal of rehabilitation after a TBI is to improve the patient's ability to function at home and in society.

During the acute stage, moderately to severely injured patients may receive treatment and care in an intensive care unit of a hospital. Once stable, the patient may be transferred to a sub-acute unit of the medical center or to an independent rehabilitation hospital. At this point, patients follow many diverse paths toward recovery because there are a wide variety of options for rehabilitation.

It is important for the family to provide social support for the patient by being involved in the rehabilitation program. Family members may also benefit from psychotherapy. Therapists help the patient adapt to disabilities or change the patient's living space, called environmental modification, to make everyday activities easier.

It is important for TBI patients and their families to select the most appropriate setting for rehabilitation. There are several options, including home-based rehabilitation, hospital outpatient rehabilitation, inpatient rehabilitation centers, comprehensive day programs at rehabilitation centers, supportive living programs, independent living centers, club-house programs, school based programs for children, and others.

The VA’s Polytrauma System of Care provides a full range of rehabilitation services for all enrolled veterans and for service members covered by TRICARE.

If you believe that you or somebody you know has TBI and may benefit from rehabilitation, contact your local VA and ask for the Polytrauma/TBI Point of Contact. TBI care in the VA is available nationwide.

Visit the VA's TBI website for more information.

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