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Mental Health Center

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Dementia in Head Injury

Other Therapy for Dementia After a Head Injury

Diet

Persons who are unable to prepare food or feed themselves are in danger of becoming malnourished. Their diets must be monitored to be sure that they are getting proper nutrition. Dementia patients who may have a poor gag reflex or difficulty swallowing may need special medical assistance for obtaining nutrition. Otherwise, no special dietary prescriptions or restrictions apply.

Activity

In general, the person should be as active as possible.
In the early phases of rehabilitation, simple physical exercises and games may improve endurance and self-confidence. These activities should gradually increase in difficulty.
Some head-injured persons may require devices to help them with mobility (walking or moving around). Persons using such mobility aids require monitoring to make sure they are safe.
It may be necessary to change the surroundings to prevent falls and accidents that could cause repeat injuries.

Although medical professionals often recommend that the head-injured person resume normal activities or responsibilities, this is not always easily done. People who work at night, or whose work involves heavy machinery, hazardous conditions, or an overstimulating environment, may not be able to return to their previous positions. Returning to work before the person is ready may lead to failure and regression in recovery. The person may delay returning to work or previous activities for fear of further injury, embarrassment about disabilities, and uncertainty about abilities. A gradual return to work that allows the person to relearn or get used to the job is often helpful, although not always possible.

People who play contact sports should not return to play until cleared by their health care provider. Even a mild head injury makes the brain more fragile. A second blow to the head, even a very slight one, could cause a person with a recent head injury to die of sudden brain swelling. This is called second injury syndrome.

Next Steps After a Head Injury and Dementia

The head-injured person with dementia requires regularly scheduled follow-up visits with the medical professional coordinating his or her care. These visits give the coordinator a chance to check progress and make recommendations for changes in treatment if any are necessary.

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