The Rehabilitation Team
Rehabilitation often involves a variety of health professionals. All have specific training and roles to help a person with ABI in their recovery.
The following professionals may be on the rehabilitation team or may be available for consultation:
- Audiologist: An audiologist assesses whether there is a hearing loss, the amount and area of damage and whether a hearing aid is required.
- Behavioural Psychologist: A behavioural psychologist provides assessment and counseling to assist the patient and family in coping with changes in emotions and behaviours that sometimes result from brain injury (not all rehab programs have a behavioural psychologist).
- Chaplain: A chaplain offers spiritual and religious care to the patient, family and friends.
- Neuropsychiatrists: Some programs have neuropsychiatrists who provide support to people who are struggling with mental health issues such as depression or anxiety after a brain injury. They can prescribe medication and know what type of medication is best for someone who has had a brain injury.
- Nurses: Nurses assist with day-to-day care, communicate with patient and family on a regular basis, and teach and support skills that may be needed. Nurses look after the health and well-being of the patient. They will provide medication and medical care ordered by the doctor.
- Occupational Therapist: The occupational therapist (OT) assesses and treats changes in thinking, physical, and perceptual skills that affect a person’s ability to perform self-care activities and participate in community living, work, and leisure. The OT will also recommend equipment that might be needed (e.g., wheelchair, grab bars).
- Physiatrist/Physician: A physiatrist is a doctor of rehabilitation. Either a physiatrist or the unit physician is responsible for the medical care of the patient. The physiatrist or physician assesses and treats any medical concerns. He/She will prescribe medication and orthotic devices, provide medical consultation, and provide education about the effects of brain injury. The physician or physiatrist will assist in coordinating discharge to the community, ensuring medical follow-up as needed.
- Physiotherapist: A physiotherapist assesses physical changes that limit someone’s independence. This includes return of movement, strength, coordination, balance, walking, and exercise ability.
- Psychologist/Neuropsychologist: Psychologists and/or neuropsychologists assess any changes in thinking abilities and personality that may arise from brain injury. They provide feedback and education to help the individual and their family to understand and cope with the changes and to assist in planning the individual’s return to daily activities.
- Recreation/Rehab Therapists: Some programs have Recreation Therapists or Rehab Therapists. They assist in the implementation of therapy goals through daily activities and leisure activities.
- Social Worker: The social worker supports the family as they adjust to this new stage of recovery. The social worker provides supportive counseling and will help you understand what is happening, what you need to plan for, and what to expect. S/he helps plan for a person’s discharge from hospital. This includes making referrals to other resources (such as outpatient therapy or community support). Some programs have Discharge Planners who will assist with this task.
- Speech Language Pathologist: A speech-language pathologist assesses and treats speech, language, cognitive-communication and swallowing impairments. This may include difficulties in understanding, talking, reading, writing, and thinking.