For many patients, the damage to the brain resulting from TBI may lead to life long disabilities. The term disability in relationship to TBI means a loss of physical or mental function caused by damage to the brain. Keep in mind that many patients with TBI will be suffering from other serious injuries that happened at the same time as their brain injury. One of the greatest challenges for the patient is working to recover from the brain injury while they are recovering from other physical injuries. Even patients who appear to recover fully may have some long-term symptoms. Challenges with work and completing tasks that were once routine can be much more difficult than before the injury. Some patients find that the skills and abilities that they used before the injury to meet these challenges are not as sharp as they once were.
These ongoing challenges can also affect the patient’s personal life. People who have experienced brain injuries may take longer to do simple things such as coming up with the correct change in the checkout line at the grocery store or placing an order at a restaurant. Family relationships will almost certainly change and in some cases the patient will be totally dependent on their caregivers.
Despite the advances in early diagnosis and treatment of moderate to severe TBI, the fact remains that traumatic brain injury will be a life-changing experience for many patients. Helping the patient, family members, and caregivers cope with these long-term consequences is an important part of TBI rehabilitation.