Rehabilitative Care After Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injuries

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Rehabilitative care is an important component of a child's treatment plan following a traumatic brain injury. It helps the brain injury patient relearn essential skills that have been lost as a result of the brain damage that has occurred. In addition, rehabilitative care can also help lower the risk for secondary medical problems related to extended hospital bed rest and immobility. These secondary medical problems may include blood clot formation in the veins, and lung and urinary tract infections. The following rehabilitation care therapies will help the pediatric traumatic brain injury patient regain their skills so that their activities of daily living can be better performed.

Physical And Occupational Therapy

A couple of days after a traumatic brain injury, the pediatric neurologist may recommend participation in both physical therapy and occupational therapy programs. During the physical therapy sessions, the therapist will teach the patient certain exercises that will help them with balance, strength, and coordination.

Gait training will also be implemented so that the child can regain their walking skills. During gait training sessions, the physical therapist will ask that patient wear a gait belt, which is a device that is worn like a belt to help ensure safe transfers from the wheelchair while protecting the patient from falling while they are standing and walking.

During the patient's occupational therapy sessions, the pediatric occupational therapist will assist them with their upper body skills needed to perform their activities of daily living, also called ADLs. Activities of daily living include dressing, eating, brushing and combing the hair, writing, and brushing their teeth.

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy is also an integral part of the post-traumatic brain injury treatment plan. The speech therapist or language pathologist will help the individual regain their speaking skills and help them manage their speech and swallowing deficits such as aphasia and dysphagia, the latter referring to difficulty swallowing. Aphasia refers to the inability to speak, write, and comprehend language.

To assess the patient's swallowing ability, the physician may recommend a swallowing evaluation. During a swallowing evaluation, the speech pathologist will offer the child various foods and liquids possessing different consistencies and textures. This is done so that the speech pathologist can observe how well the patient's muscles move while eating and drinking. The swallowing evaluation may also help reveal if the brain injury patient is at risk for choking. 

If your child suffers a traumatic brain injury, consider how the above interventions may help promote their recovery. When rehabilitative care interventions are implemented promptly, your child may be more likely to enjoy the benefits of living independently sooner rather than later.

For more information on rehabilitative care, contact a company like Dominion Physical Therapy