Adjusting to a ‘different person’ after brain injury
Rehabilitation Neurological rehabilitation aims to improve quality of life for patients with brain and spinal injuries through a holistic, educational approach.
“We can’t always cure patients but we can get them home faster and in better condition with neurological rehabilitation (NR),” explains Professor Michael Barnes, Group Clinical Director at the Christchurch Group. “The educational aspect is what distinguishes NR: we don’t care passively for people, we get them doing things for themselves. Having a positive attitude, engaging with the therapy, and having family who’ll be supportive when you go home, are all important.”
"Neurological rehabilitation takes into account societal and emotional impact - loss of work, marital breakdown and restricted activity."
Eighty per cent of the patients his units see have acquired brain injury, mainly caused by trauma such as road accidents. Of those, 75 per cent are young males.
“From the roadside, the patient would typically be taken to a local hospital, then transferred to a neurosurgical centre if necessary, and after a month or so they would go to an NR unit.”
The multi-disciplinary nature of an NR team reflects the many aspects involved in recovery.
“It is absolutely a team effort,” says Prof Barnes. “Different patients will need different combinations, but the key members are: a physiotherapist for physical treatment; an occupational therapist to help the patient handle daily routines such as getting dressed; a neuropsychologist for cognition, thoughts and emotions; nursing; a speech therapist; and an NR physician for the overview.”
Goals and outcomes
NR takes a holistic approach to tackling the challenges in the recovery process, which involves societal and emotional impact - loss of work, marital breakdown (there is a close to 50 per cent divorce rate after brain injury) - as well as restricted activity from the physical injury itself.
"We can’t always cure patients but we can get them home faster, and in better condition, with neurological rehabilitation."
“We’ve seen some remarkable, 100 per cent, recoveries, though the norm is that patients and families have to learn how to adjust to the ‘different person’ who emerges after brain injury.”
Britain is “near the top of the pile” when it comes to NR, but “we need to boost our capacity from 3,000 beds to 12,000,” says Prof Barnes. “Studies show that the improved outcomes for patients in terms of return to work and lower ongoing care costs repay the outlay within 12 months. It’s one of the only specialities where more beds could be provided at less cost.”
Christchurch Group is an award winning neurological rehabilitation specialist, offering a comprehensive range of services for adults with neurological conditions arising from injury, illness or disease.
Our specialities include acquired brain injury, stroke, progressive degenerative diseases such as Motor Neurone disease and Huntington’s disease, spinal and ventilated care and long term complex care.
Based at 6 locations, our geographical reach extends across England and Wales.
Our interdisciplinary teams comprise consultants, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and rehabilitation assistants, who work closely with residents, families and commissioners to develop and achieve rehabilitation goals.