Brain injury specialist rehabilitation is a specialty discipline most relevant to a subset of people who have experienced a significant brain injury. It is particularly relevant when the impacts of the brain injury produce acute, complex and functionally significant abnormality across multiple domains of cerebral function, including:
- cognitive impairment
- behavioural and personality change
- neurological impairment
- neurologically mediated medical issues
- lifestyle and participation restriction.
The majority of people entering brain injury specialist rehabilitation are likely to have experienced traumatic brain injury.
However, it is recognised that other causes of acquired brain injury can produce an equivalent symptom cluster, e.g. hypoxia, encephalitis or spontaneous intracerebral haemorrhage, and that such affected individuals may also be eligible for brain injury specialist rehabilitation.
Unique elements in brain injury specialist rehabilitation
Severe traumatic brain injury has unique characteristics, effects and impacts, which in turn require unique elements in brain injury specialist rehabilitation. Some of these elements include changes to the environment in which the rehabilitation is provided, how the rehabilitation is provided and what rehabilitation is made available to meet the unique demands of each individual.
For example, the physical mechanisms of a typical severe traumatic brain injury causes damage in multiple areas of the brain. This damage causes various affects, often including multiple cognitive impairments, which impact on the person’s life and their family and carers. This requires the rehabilitation process to be able to manage and work with multiple cognitive impairments and their subsequent impacts.
See Inclusion, exclusion and prioritisation criteria for details on criteria for brain injury specialist rehabilitation.
Brain injury rehabilitation
A person admitted to a Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit with a brain injury has:
- damage to multiple areas of the brain
- multiple cognitive impairments
- a non-progressive injury
- significant life impacts across time
- a willingness and/or the support to engage in the rehabilitation process.
Rehabilitation can make a positive difference to the person’s future life