Child Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service case manager and physiotherapist George Cleary knows all too well the impact a brain injury can have, not only on an individual but the family around them, and why leaning on the right rehabilitation team ensures the best outcome. For the past 13 years George has worked with children and young people who have sustained brain injuries. Here he shares his perspective on the role of the rehabilitation team and why the right clinical intervention is vital to those impacted by acquired brain injury.
‘Rehabilitation intervention’ refers to the work of specialist, highly skilled clinical professionals whose overall aim is to work together to reduce the impact that an injury can have on a child’s quality of life and long term prognosis following a brain injury. I believe having intervention from clinical professionals is so important as it allows for the child to understand not only limitations following their injury but their strengths, realign their goals and where possible help to restore and promote their ability to function as they did prior to their injury.
When a child sustains a brain injury, acute medical interventions are required which are both life saving and damage prevention measures. At an early stage the child will undergo brain scans which will establish which area of the brain has been affected and the impairments that may come about as a result. Once stabilised, information about the injury will be gathered to provide knowledge and understanding to guide the type of interventions put in place.
“Leaning on the right team ensures the best outcome”
As parents/carers, you will work closely with the team of clinical professionals as they deliver rehabilitation services. They are referred to as the Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) and work collectively to optimise your child’s quality of life following their injury.
A neurologist usually leads the MDT however there will also be other professionals involved who will be in close contact with you and your child. A neuropsychologist is typically instructed; specialises in understanding the workings of the brain and will be able to complete cognitive testing to identify any impairment as a result of the injury. An occupational therapist will also be part of this team and will look at your child’s ability to complete daily activities as well as introduce coping strategies to aid their independence. A physiotherapist will be involved to implement a physical programme of rehabilitation to assist with any loss of power and strength which can often be the case following a brain injury. Finally, a speech and language therapist will commonly work with children and young people who experience communication disorders as a result of their injury.
“Early intervention following brain injury is key”
It is crucial that these interventions are provided as soon as possible to enable the child to return to their pre injury level of functioning. It is at this early stage that your child’s needs are established which in turn gives valuable insight into the amount of support they will need going forward. It is also really important that you, as parents/carers, receive support in understanding your child’s needs so you continue to feel confident in their care. The best outcomes are achieved when intervention is as immediate as possible.
Not only is communication key amongst the MDT but also with you, the parents/carers. The MDT will be in regular contact to ensure you have a clear understanding of the interventions they are delivering, whilst also advising how you can support your child between therapy sessions both at home and in other settings such as school, to achieve the best outcome.
In some cases where litigation is involved a case manager is available to make this journey a little easier. The case manager will co-ordinate the treating team and ensure they are all working towards common goals so progress is made.
CBIT ABI Coordinators can also support you at this time too. Depending on your location an advocate may be available to support you when dealing with the MDT; it is always worth exploring local services.
For more information about George, our specialist team and what we do at the Child Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service please visit www.cbirs.co.uk or call 01327 223817.