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Therapy for Those Who’ve Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury

By Kindred Healthcare

When someone suffers a traumatic brain trauma — whether it’s from an automobile accident, severe stroke or other injury — he or she is initially admitted to an Intensive Care Unit. After patients are medically stable, it may be necessary to transfer them to a long-term acute care or transitional care facility before an acute rehabilitation or subacute rehabilitation facility.

According to Terry Eberly, a speech pathologist at Kindred Hospital Denver, two assessment methods are used to determine the extent of the injury and issues that need to be addressed:

  • The JFK Coma Recovery Scale assists in the diagnosis, assessment and treatment planning and consists of 23 items addressing auditory, visual, motor, oromotor, communication and arousal.
  • Rancho Los Amigos Levels of Cognitive Functioning describes behavioral characteristics and cognitive deficits.

Based on the results of the evaluation, a plan is customized to the needs of the individual, encompassing and integrating therapies to treat respiratory, speech, motor, visual, orthopedic and other identified issues.

“We work closely with physicians to coordinate medical interventions and therapy activities to give patients the appropriate care,” says Eberly. “It is also a difficult time for families who are often in a state of shock as they face the reality that their loved one will never be the same. When in the ICU, the focus was on survival. We’re the ones that work to bring a patient to the highest level of functioning possible.”

Eberly says the speech, occupational and physical therapists who specialize in working with traumatic brain injury patients develop skills through on-the-job training and continuing education. The unit at Kindred Hospital Denver is highly regarded and receives referrals from many sources including Craig Hospital, located nearby and nationally recognized for treating spinal cord and brain injuries.

“We have a wall with photos of our patients who come back to visit. They don’t always remember us, but their families do,” she concludes. “Seeing them is very rewarding.”

Hear from Jason who suffered a brain injury due to a car accident and Francheska who required rehabilitation after falling into a diabetic coma:



By Kindred Healthcare