Traumatic Brain Injury
Head injury causes more deaths and disabilities than any other neurologic cause in individuals under age 34. Over 80% of all head injuries are due to road accidents. Other causes include falls, gunshot wounds and other interpersonal violence.
Due to improved emergency medicine and improved diagnostic and neurosurgical techniques, the survival rate of the head-injured person has increased dramatically. The very young tend to have the best chance of surviving and recovering from a brain injury.
There are two types of injuries as the result of TBI, with a range of effects.
The first type is primary. Of those, there are three different effects:
- Direct and blunt - (acceleration, deceleration injuries, skull fractures, scalp lacerations, coup and countercoup injuries). These injuries are often widespread and diffuse.
- Direct and Penetrating - (bullet wounds, sharp objects, crushed skull). These usually produce an area of localized damage.
- Indirect - (flexion and extension injuries of the cervical spine, whiplash, fall on buttocks). These injuries tend to be comparatively mild.
The other type of injury is secondary.
These secondary insults happen to the brain after the initial injury. Bleeding inside the brain may occur and accumulation of blood may put pressure on the brain tissue and cause further damage. Blood flow to other parts of the brain may be cut off due to swelling of the brain tissue, and damage occurs when it tries to expand in the limited area of the skull.
Post-traumatic epilepsy is another factor to deal with. Early onset epilepsy occurs in the first week after injury; late onset occurs after the first week. Approximately 75% of brain injured patients will have their first seizure within the first year, the remaining 25% within four years.
Home Medical Equipment for Traumatic Brain Injury Patients
A large percentage of individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injury use wheelchairs as their primary means of mobility, either temporarily or permanently. Obtaining a wheelchair best suited for the patient's needs is an integral part of the rehabilitation process.
Hopefully, a patient will progress through different stages during rehabilitation, thus requiring frequent changes in positioning. As the individual changes physically and cognitively positioning systems must allow for adjustment and growth. This is also true as the patient is able to perform new functional tasks. For these reasons, it is more practical to use standard equipment rather than purchase customized equipment that may be appropriate today but not tomorrow.
Many other types of equipment may be required such as bathing and toileting aids, daily living aids, environmental control units, ambulation products and a hospital bed.