Brain Injury

The Rehabilitation Hospital of Wisconsin’s brain injury rehab program is based on a compassionate and comprehensive approach to brain injury rehab.  We have trained physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech/cognitive therapists, and certified rehabilitation nurses that specialize in the treatment of patients after suffering from a brain injury.  Our goal is to tailor an intensive therapeutic and educational program for each patient to help motivate and strengthen physically and mentally with plans to return to the community.

The team members monitor each patient’s rehabilitation progress and meet regularly with the patient’s family to provide progress updates.  Education and skills taught include:

  • Motor Skills
  • Eating and swallowing
  • Communication skills
  • Cognition
  • Perception
  • Behavior control
  • Self-care
  • Adjustments to the effects of brain injury
  • Nutrition
  • Family education
  • Vocational counseling
  • Community reintegration

A Healthy Brain

To understand what happens when the brain is injured, it is important to realize what a healthy brain is made of and what it does. The brain is enclosed inside the skull. The skull acts as a protective covering for the soft brain. The brain is made of neurons (nerve cells). The neurons form tracts that route throughout the brain. These nerve tracts carry messages to various parts of the brain. The brain uses these messages to perform functions. The functions include our coordinating our body’s systems, such as breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and metabolism; thought processing; body movements; personality; behavior; and the senses, such as vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Each part of the brain serves a specific function and links with other parts of the brain to form more complex functions.  All parts of the brain need to be working well in order for the brain to work well.  Even “minor” or “mild” injuries to the brain can significantly disrupt the brain’s ability to function.

An Injured Brain

When a brain injury occurs, the functions of the neurons, nerve tracts, or sections of the brain can be affected. If the neurons and nerve tracts are affected, they can be unable or have difficulty carrying the messages that tell the brain what to do. This can change the way a person thinks, acts, feels, and moves the body. Brain injury can also change the complex internal functions of the body, such as regulating body temperature; blood pressure; bowel and bladder control. These changes can be temporary or permanent. They may cause impairment or a complete inability to perform a function.

Injuries of the left side of the brain can cause:

  • Difficulties in understanding language (receptive language)
  • Difficulties in speaking or verbal output (expressive language)
  • Catastrophic reactions (depression, anxiety)
  • Verbal memory deficits
  • Impaired logic
  • Sequencing difficulties
  • Decreased control over right-sided body movements

Injuries of the right side of the brain can cause:

  • Visual-spatial impairment
  • Visual memory deficits
  • Left neglect (inattention to the left side of the body)
  • Decreased awareness of deficits
  • Altered creativity and music perception
  • Loss of “the big picture” type of thinking
  • Decreased control over left-sided body movements

Diffuse Brain Injury (Injuries are scattered throughout both sides of the brain) can cause:

  • Reduced thinking speed
  • Confusion
  • Reduced attention and concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Impaired cognitive (thinking) skills in all areas

– Information received from Brain Injury Association of America

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Inpatient Services

Our rehab team provides highly specialized treatment for:

Stroke

Brain Injury

Other Neuro

Orthopedic

General

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