The Continuum of Rehabilitation for Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury
Lifetime of Care: Long-term Care
Unfortunately, some individuals with TBI are medically stable but no longer making significant progress functionally after an extended period of time and do not meet requirements for ongoing inpatient rehabilitation even though they remain at a low level of function overall. Although many families are able to address significant functional needs at home, the burden of care can be overwhelming both in terms of time and money. As a result, some of these individuals with extended needs post-TBI require long term care in a skilled nursing setting where they will continue to receive nursing and medical care (usually with less intensive medical supervision) but no longer continue on an active rehabilitation program. The burden on the caregivers for those persons with significant long-term needs who return home should not be underestimated as it can be a 24 hour per day occupation physically, mentally, and emotionally. For this reason, some individuals with TBI ultimately require long-term placement or services even after initially returning home with family support.
Other persons with TBI may require long term supports in the context of living in the community. Levels of support may range from 24-hour supervision to a few hours per week to assist with a challenging activity such as shopping, checking a pill planner or banking. Again, supporting the unique needs of the individual with TBI is the key to optimizing quality of life and success.
Also contributing to this article: Tina M. Trudel, PhD, Marcia J. Scherer, PhD, MPH, FACRM, and Raphael Gaeta, MSW
About the authors: This series is being published by the Traumatic Brain Injury—Resource Optimization Center (TBI-ROC) and its Advisory Group, which is facilitated by JBS International, Inc. The TBI-ROC aims to be a recognized source and leader for advancing national attention to the myriad of policy, research, practice, and service needs supporting both civilian and military individuals who incur TBI and their families.
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