Geriatric Brain Injury Care: The Gaping Hole in Care
Lately, I’ve been receiving a large number of calls from individuals hoping to find care for their aging parent who has recently sustained a TBI. Usually, they’re looking for a place that caters to specific issues that senior citizens face, and I’m usually the one that breaks the news to them: there aren’t many places that understand the needs of elderly TBI patients.
In many cases, elderly TBI patients are often resigned to skilled nursing centers that don’t offer any of the brain-building therapies that are crucial to neurological rehabilitation.
So what’s a person to do? My advice is to do a thorough assessment of the patient’s needs. If the patient requires more physical therapy, look for a center that has a bustling PT program and lots of community-oriented therapies. If the issues are more cognitive in nature, consider a facility that has a healthy blend of occupational, vocational, and speech therapies. Make sure you ask important questions critical to aging patients: Is there a hospital nearby? What kinds of specialists will look after my mother or father? Do any of the physicians have experience working among geriatric populations?
In a pinch, pick up some rehabilitation basics, like the kind offered through the Brain Injury Recovery Kit. No matter what people tell you, keep in mind that brain injuries, even if they occur in the golden years, are treatable.