After The Hospital
After the Hospital
Following hospitalization and rehabilitation, some patients with brain injuries will be discharged into specialized rehabilitation programs to continue recovering. Others who have recovered more fully may be referred to transitional programs to improve their thought processes and job skills before returning to the community.
Still, others may return to the community without follow‑up services. The discharge options can be affected by insurance benefits, availability of programs or choices the family makes as to the best next steps for the person with a brain injury.
When a person with a brain injury comes home, there can be changes in cognition and behaviors that can cause a significant amount of stress for family members or caregivers. Even with daily involvement with a rehabilitation program, the person with a brain injury can be difficult to manage in the home. There can be a range of issues that can add stress to the family: agitation and irritation toward family members, lack of awareness of deficits from brain injury, trouble with initiating or completing basic tasks, etc.
Some simple things families can do for the person with a brain injury:
Create a schedule.
Break tasks down into simple steps.
Write things down.
Find a support group to help connect with others who are experiencing or have experienced similar issues.
During this stage medical issues are usually no longer the main concern. More emphasis is placed on cognition (the way a person interacts with his/her environment). The goals are to build skills and prepare for the future. Whether that means returning to school, work, the family home, a care facility or another setting, the aim is to help the individual enjoy the highest possible quality of life.
A neuropsychologist will usually do an assessment at this point to evaluate what abilities the individual with a brain injury has and what new problems he/she has now developed. This evaluation helps the patient and the family better understand how the injury has affected intellectual functioning, and provides information about how to deal with the problems. It indicates the kinds of support the family member will need. It is important that the professional present this information to the person with a brain injury and explain the results of the assessment to his/her whole family. This information is the basis for treatment and future plans.