Frequently Asked Questions
These pages are provided for patients, their families, and friends to learn more about Traumatic Brain Injury. Please share them with anyone who wants to support the person in their life with TBI.
What is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
TBI, traumatic brain injury, can occur when there is an injury to the head from blunt trauma or from acceleration or deceleration such as in a whiplash injury.
A head injury is diagnosed as TBI when one or more of the following occurs:
- Any period of loss of consciousness
- Any loss of memory of events immediately before or after an accident
- Any change in mental state at the time of the accident, such as feeling disoriented
- Any of the following symptoms which may or may not come and go:
- Being more forgetful
- Decreased attention and concentration
- Inner ear swelling (edema)
- Muscle and joint complaints after the accident
- Headaches or migraines after the accident
- Problems getting lost; having trouble with directions
- Visual disturbances
- Altered taste and smell
- Hearing changes
- Sensitivity to light
- Trouble understanding what you read
- Trouble understanding what is said to you
- Increased irritability
- Depression and anxiety
- Trouble sleeping
- Changes in your thinking
Do all symptoms occur immediately after the accident?
No, symptoms can be noticed over time. Some people with a brain injury report noticing changes over an extended period of time.
What should I do if I notice new symptoms?
If you are working with a Quality Care Consulting case manager let her know about your new symptoms. She will make sure they are discussed at your next medical appointment. If you are not working with a case manager be sure to tell the medical doctor who is in charge of your case about your symptoms.
What are some of the feelings and behaviors people may experience after a Traumatic Brain Injury?
People can experience a variety of strong emotions after a TBI. In fact, it’s normal to do so. Some of the common feelings/behaviors are:
- Feeling easily overwhelmed
- Feelings of loss
- Avoidance of social activities and the desire to isolate oneself
- Depression and anxiety
- Family stress
There are solutions and strategies to help with all of these feelings and behaviors. The professionals at Quality Care Consulting have experience in helping patients and their families deal with these things, eliminate some of the conditions causing them, and achieve maximum recovery.
What can I do to support a friend or family member who has TBI? How can I make things easier for them?
First, read through all the questions and answers in this section. This will help you understand some of the physical and emotional challenges they are facing. It’s always easier to help someone and be patient with them when you understand what they are going through. Second, follow these basic guidelines:
- Allow the person with TBI time for rest throughout the day during the early phases of recovery.
- Create a calm environment when you are talking to them and keep the environment simple. Eliminate distractions like TV or radio. This will help them focus.
- Keep calm when they are frustrated or angry. When you are calm you create a non-threatening atmosphere which can help reduce their anxiety.
- Whenever possible give them choices so they can feel in control of their life. Just be sure not to present too many choices at one time since this could overwhelm them.
- When giving instructions keep them simple and concrete. Use gestures or demonstrate the “how to’s” if your friend/family member has trouble understanding the spoken word.
Why is the first year after an accident so important to recovery?
There are two major reasons.
- Recovery is fuller and faster in the first year than at any other time. When one part of the brain is injured, another can take over for it, helping the injured person to regain abilities they lost due to the accident. The brain is most able to do this during the first year after a TBI. That’s why it’s so important to begin therapy as soon as possible after an accident and to continue throughout the entire first year.
- The sooner people with TBI can learn and use coping skills, the smoother their life will run and the less frustrated they will feel.An example of a coping skill: people who experience memory problems can develop the habit of writing down information.
Why is depression sometimes a result of TBI?
As you can see from the answers to the questions on this page, people who have suffered a TBI face a lot of challenges. Depression over not being able to do some of the things they once did – either temporarily or permanently – is a natural result.
What can I do for a friend or family member if he or she is suffering from depression?
Don’t let the condition persist without getting your friend or family member some help. If you are seeing signs of depression let your QCC case manager know. The QCC staff can create strategies and solutions tailored to the specific needs of your friend/family member. If you are not working with QCC, talk with the patient and his/her closest family member and stress that they should seek medical help from a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor who may refer you to a psychiatrist.
Who pays for the services of Quality Care Consulting?
Under the provisions of the Michigan No-Fault Auto Law case management services are covered by the patient’s auto insurance provider. QCC bills the auto insurance company directly and seeks reimbursement for those services that are reasonable and necessary that relate to the automobile accident. Case management is a medical benefit available through Auto No-Fault.
Some of the answers in this section have been adapted from material published by the Centre for Neuro Skills