Brain Injury Awareness Month in March Calls Attention to Causes and Treatment for TBI and of the Special Needs of Infants and Children Afflicted
LOMA LINDA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Each year approximately 2.8 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury, a saddening percentage of whom are young children and teenagers who, along with seniors, comprise the population most likely to sustain this condition. Fortunately, for many such children, Totally Kids Rehabilitation Hospital continues to provide the hope, treatment and interdisciplinary care needed to improve the quality of life for these individuals and their families.
“Brain injury affects who we are and the way we think, act, and feel. It can change everything about us in a matter of seconds,” says Pauline Hennessey, vice president of child development and rehabilitation services at Totally Kids. “March is Brain Injury Awareness Month which is a fitting time to bring attention to the severity of this issue and what is being done to help those who are suffering.”
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a sudden injury that causes damage to the brain. It may happen when there is a blow, bump, or jolt to the head. Some of the most common causes include falls, being struck by an object or a blast injury due to explosions. For children and young adults, the most common causes include motor vehicle crashes, sports injuries such as concussions and child abuse, which is the most common cause in children under age four.
“No two brain injuries are exactly the same and the effects of a brain injury are complex and vary greatly from person to person,” said Thaddeus Wilson, MD, MPH who provides physical medicine and rehabilitation services to patients at Totally Kids. “This is particularly concerning as it pertains to children, as a child’s brain is still developing. The cognitive impairments of children with brain injury may not be immediately obvious after the injury but may become apparent as the child gets older. In that regard traumatic brain injury in children is a public health problem with a ripple effect as inadequate or delays in care can lead to disability that lasts through adulthood.
“These implications can create lifetime challenges for living and learning,” continues Dr. Wilson. “That is why it is so important to not delay seeking care if a child has sustained any blow to the head and is experiencing confusion, blurry vision or concentration difficulty.”
Totally Kids Rehabilitation Hospital provides care for children from month old infants to 21 years of age who present with TBI. For each of these children a personalized plan of care is developed and then implemented by an interdisciplinary care team consisting of specially trained physicians, experienced nurses, and physical, occupational, speech and recreation therapists. Also developed, in collaboration with parents/guardians and outpatient services, is a plan for post rehab when the child returns home.
While at Totally Kids, physical therapy for each child focuses on increasing functional mobility for a safe discharge home including bed mobility, transfers, gait/stair training, wheelchair mobility, monitor strength, balance, endurance, and motor control. Recreation therapists focus on leisure activities and virtual reality to minimize anxiety, which is common after a brain injury. Occupational therapy centers on increasing activities of daily living including self-feeding, grooming, dressing, toileting, and bathing. Speech therapy focuses on receptive and expressive communication, verbal and non-verbal cognition and memory, safety and problem solving. Together, the staff optimizes the environment of care to help re-set wake and sleep cycles.
This clinical team is supported by pharmacists, dietitians, case managers and social workers all focused on the specific needs of each child. Children at Totally Kids benefit not only from the talents, clinical excellence and high degree of tenderness from the dedicated staff but also from the latest cutting-edge technologies found in the nation’s most sophisticated pediatric rehabilitation centers.
“Tragically traumatic brain injury has been increasing over time as has the number of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths as a result,” says Hennessey. “By implementing best practices in clinical care and working through medical complications while in rehab, we’ve achieved a long history of extraordinary clinical improvement for patients with TBI which is why so many physicians and parents trust Totally Kids with their children.”
Further information on Brain Injury Awareness Month and on brain injury in general can be found at www.biausa.org.
About Totally Kids
For more than 50 years Totally Kids has been a national leader in providing personalized rehabilitation and habilitation services for children with a family-centered emphasis. Programs include acute pediatric rehabilitation, subacute and residential intermediate care and an innovative “Totally Infants Program” specialty created for the care of infants who are ready to transition from an NICU but not yet ready to go home. For further information visit totallykids.com.