South of England Acquired Brain Injury Forum

Description of the role of persons that an individual with brain injury may encounter

Posted by on May 15, 2018 in Events and Meetings |

The below offers a description of the role of persons that an individual with brain injury may encounter:

Medical involvement:

• Neurologist

Neurologists are doctors who specialise in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders that affect the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (nerves and muscles which activate movement and transmit sensation from all parts of the body to the brain).

• Neurosurgeon

A neurosurgeon is a physician who specialises in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of disorders of the central and peripheral nervous systems including congenital anomalies, trauma, tumours, vascular disorders, infections of the brain or stroke.

• Head Injury Nurse Specialist

A registered nurse with experience in neurorehabilitation and neuroscience. The nurse will offer support, information and advice to patients following a head injury. The nurse will usually work closely with the critical care, trauma and neurosciences departments, and have close links to the rehabilitation units and the acquired brain injury nurses who are based in the community.

• Neuropsychologist

Neuropsychologists are doctors who specialise in the study of the relationship between behaviour, emotion, and cognition and how these are impacted when brain function is impaired.

• Neuropsychiatrist

Neuropsychiatry is a branch of medicine that deals with emotional disorders resulting from a brain injury.

• Ear, Nose and Throat

ENT doctors specialise in the diagnosis, medical and surgical management of diseases affecting the ear, nose and throat. Someone would typically be assessed by an ENT Consultant, should they experience changes to taste or smell, following a brain injury.

• Neuro Ophthalmologist

Someone suffering from a brain injury would typically be assessed by a clinician in this area, if they experience any visual changes following a brain injury.

• Orthopaedic

An orthopaedic surgeon is a doctor who specialises in the body’s musculoskeletal system. This system includes bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves and tendons. Someone may sustain physical orthopaedic injuries alongside a brain injury, which could include fractures. If you have sustained fractures to your face then you will be assessed by a Maxillo-facial surgeon.

• Plastics

Plastic surgeons specialise in repairing and reconstructing missing or damaged tissue and skin, usually as a result of trauma to the body, from for example a road traffic collision.

• Audio Vestibular

Audio vestibular Medicine is the medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and management of hearing and balance disorders. Assessment could be required by a clinician in this area, when there are issues with hearing or balance, following a brain injury.

• Endocrinology

Endocrinologists specialise in the branch of physiology and medicine concerned with endocrine glands and hormones.

If any hormonal imbalances were suffered as a result of the brain injury, an assessment by an expert in endocrinology could be needed. For example, a traumatic brain injury can damage the pituitary gland, situated in the head, is also responsible for regulating the bodies hormones.

Specialist support:

• Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and language therapy is the care, support and treatment for individuals who have difficulties with communicating, eating, drinking and swallowing. Intervention from such a specialist, would be required if, as a result of a brain injury, any such difficulties are experienced.

• Neuro Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy provides support to people whose health prevents them doing the activities that matter to them.

It is likely that following a brain injury, someone with a brain injury will require assistance from an occupational therapist who typically assist them to independently carry out everyday tasks or occupations with more confidence and independence.

• Nursing Care

An individual as a result of their brain injury may require temporary or permanent nursing care. An assessor in Nursing Care will make suggestions of the most appropriate type of care whether it be in a residential setting or within the individuals home. This will work toward ensuring the individuals day to day healthcare needs are met.

• Neuro physiotherapy

This is a specialism of general physiotherapy. Neuro physiotherapists specialise in the assessment and treatment of individuals who have neurological conditions. This means a problem associated with the central nervous system, namely the brain and spinal cord.

It is likely that someone suffering from a brain injury would require support from a Neuro physio during the rehabilitation process, to assist with some of the day-to-day physical symptoms arising of a brain injury.

• Assistive Technology

Assistive technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities while also including the process used in selecting, locating, and using them.

An individual with a brain injury may benefit from Assistive Technology in aiding their recovery and maximising their independence, for example turning the lights on in the house, and opening the curtains.

• Brain Injury Case Manager
Case Managers work closely with families, fund-holders, and care teams in order to support every aspect of their individual’s physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing. A Case Manager will identify and prioritise the individual’s goals and will work together to achieve them.

Legal support:

• Community Care Solicitor

Community care law covers access to health and social services from the NHS or Local Authorities. These lawyers aim to meet the needs of vulnerable people, including the disabled. They can assist an individual with a brain injury to gain access to all available NHS and social care services to ensure they have the practical support and assistance they need.

• Major Trauma Solicitor

In the event an individual has sustained a brain injury as a result of the fault of a third party then a major trauma solicitor may be instructed to approach the insurance company of the third party to obtain from them funding for private brain injury rehabilitation, interim payments to reimburse ongoing losses for example loss of earnings, and damages for the affect on the individuals life.

• Court of Protection Legal Advice
The Court of Protection make decisions on financial or welfare matters for people who can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made. They are responsible for deciding whether someone has the mental capacity to make a particular decision for themselves, appointing deputies to make ongoing decisions for people who lack mental capacity and giving people permission to make one-off decisions on behalf of someone else who lacks mental capacity.

A lawyer specialising in this area can provide specialist assistance if and when this is necessary. They can also act as a deputy on behalf of a client.