BRAIN INJURY

About the Condition

Brain injuries are caused by external force or trauma jarring the brain, causing varying degrees of brain dysfunction.  This usually happens due to a violent blow to the head or body or an object penetrating the skull.

Mild brain injuries may only have a temporary dysfunction of brain cells.  More serious brain injuries can lead to bruising on the brain, torn tissues, bleeding and physical damage to the brain that can lead to long-term complications or death.

If a person with a brain injury is not treated right away or the injury is severe enough, long-term complications may occur.

Symptoms

  • Coma.
  • Swelling/fluid build up surrounding the brain.
  • Infections- meningitis.
  • Sensory problems.
  • Paralysis of facial muscles/loss of facial sensation.
  • Behavioural changes.
  • Difficulty with self control, risky behaviour, verbal/physical outbursts.
  • Cognitive problems.
  • Memory problems, change in judgment, ability to problem solve, etc.
  • Communication difficulties.
  • Problems with understanding, speaking, writing, nonverbal cues, following conversations.
  • Vegetative state.
  • Stroke/blood clots due to blood vessel damage.
  • Post-traumatic epilepsy – reoccurring seizures.
  • Dysarthria – Inability to use the muscles needed to form words.
  • Double vision or even blindness, loss of smell, ringing in the ears, trouble swallowing.

Useful Tips for Patients & Caregivers

If you see someone sustain a head injury, watch for the above symptoms and if any are noticed, bring the patient to the doctor right away.

The following tips may help too;

  • Write important names, events and hard to remember things down and make them readily accessible.
  • Create a routine that is easy to follow and remember.
  • Alter your expectations and tasks to make them more manageable.
  • Avoid distractions, especially if cognition problems arise.

REAL PATIENT CASE STUDY

Winston sadly suffered a brain injury.  He would often become uncomfortable in his wheelchair and complain about the pain he endured.  

His wife contacted Seating Matters for help.

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Selecting the Right Chair for a Patient with a Brain Injury

It is very important that the chair is adjustable to allow it to meet the changing needs of the person as their condition changes.  Cognitive changes may reduce their ability to ‘learn’ new products and operations and so having a chair that will adjust and to which you can add accessories at a later date, will ensure continuity and familiarity.

The Sorrento™ and Phoenix™ in particular are designed to suit the needs of those suffering from a brain injury and these are also available as part of our Kidz Range, as well as for adults.  These two Seating Matters chairs are highly adjustable and highly supportive and can be used as rehabilitation tools, with accessories that can be added or taken away as necessary.  This allows one chair to meet changing patient needs over a long period of time. Both the Sorrento and Phoenix are available in manual and powered options.  Manual adjustment leaves the control of the seating positions to the caregiver.  Partially motorized options give the user of the chair more independent control to change the angle of tilt in space and their leg elevation as and when desired.  Fully motorized options give the user of the chair control to change the angle of tilt in space, their leg elevation and the back angle recline as and when desired.

Depending on the severity of the injury, Sorrento and Phoenix can provide the exact amount of support a person needs.  They can be adjusted to provide less support as rehabilitation routines work to make the user stronger.  If the injury causes the user’s health to deteriorate, these chairs can be adjusted to include greater amounts of support as well.

If an individual suffers from symptoms that include involuntary movements, the Atlanta™ is a fantastic option. The Seating Matters Atlanta provides a safe and padded position, robust enough to withstand constant, vigorous, involuntary movements.  The high arm rests and ramped seat of the Atlanta provide a safe and comfortable position without the patient feeling like they are being restrained in their seat.

Bear in mind, each person is different and so you must use clinical judgement, knowledge of the patient, environmental considerations and personal preferences before deciding on which Seating Matters chair to use.