September 5, 2016
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
A brain injury can affect just about everything, from the way a person walks and talks to the way they think. It also affects their ability to accomplish common everyday tasks. Brain injury rehab plays a crucial role in helping these patients live a better quality of life.
A brain injury could affect any part of the body depending on which part of the brain is injured. The type and severity of the injury determine the type and length of the rehab process. Some people require only a few weeks or months of treatment while others may require years or even lifelong rehabilitation.
The specific rehab specialist that is involved with the treatment of a brain injury patient depends on the unique needs of the individual and the challenges they face. In some cases, several specialists may work together as a team to attend to different areas of care. If you’re interested in the rehabilitation of brain injury patients, here are a few specialties that you should explore further.
A neurologist is a medical doctor who has undergone specialty training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system. Neurologists can recommend surgical treatment but are not qualified to perform surgery.
Neurosurgeons are qualified to perform surgery of the brain and nervous system. These professionals provide operative as well as non-operative management of neurological disorders. The training period for this specialty is extensive.
A neuro-psychologist specialises in assessing the relationship between brain and behaviour. They develop individualised training programmes to help brain injury survivors return to normal functioning. When necessary they also recommend alternative behavioural and cognitive strategies to minimise the effects of the injury.
Occupational therapists work with individuals who have conditions that are physically, mentally, emotionally and developmentally disabling. They help patients improve basic motor functions and reasoning abilities so they can develop, recover or maintain daily living and work skills. Their goal is to help clients lead more independent, productive and satisfying lives.
Physiotherapists focus on restoring or improving motor function. After identifying and assessing the patient’s mobility issues, they develop personalised treatment plans that aim at strengthening muscles, and improving balance, coordination, movement and endurance of joints.
A rehabilitation counsellor helps people deal with the personal, vocational and social effects of their disabilities. They evaluate the strengths and limitations of their patients and help them develop the skills and aptitudes necessary to return to productive activity. These specialists provide personal and vocational counselling, and may arrange for medical care, vocational training, and job placement. They also work toward increasing the client’s capacity to live independently.
Special education teachers use a wide array of teaching methods to promote learning. They develop an individual education program that sets personalised goals for each student and is tailored to a student’s individual learning style and ability.
An audiologist specialises in the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of patients who have hearing and balance related problems.
Speech/language pathologists focus on developing and conducting programs to improve comprehension and communication skills. For brain injury patients, this may involve working on attention, sequencing, planning and organisation.
Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.