The healthcare team is an important source of information and support to both the person with the brain injury and to family and friends. The team can do things like recommend a treatment plan or help the person learn new skills to meet his or her new needs.
The team meets regularly to review how well the person is healing; his progress, and to make plans for future treatment, etc. They will also schedule family meetings (conferences) to update the family and answer questions, as well as start planning for discharge.
Below are some of the people on the healthcare team:
Attending Doctor: Responsible for the medical care and treatment. This doctor may be a specialist in trauma, neurosurgery, or a hospitalist (like a family doctor who takes care of patients in the hospital). These doctors may have residents, fellows, and medical clerks working with them.
Nurse Practitioners (NP): Nurses with extra training who can assess, treat, order tests, and prescribe medicine. The NP works closely with the doctors, nurses, and therapists.
Physiatrist: A doctor who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Registered Nurses (RN): Nurses with training and experience in brain care injury, rehabilitation, and discharge planning. They care for the everyday needs of the person.
Psychologist: Evaluates and treats issues with mood, coping, adjusting to the injury, and being in hospital.
Neuropsychologist: Evaluates changes or concerns with thinking skills and behaviour. Teach the patient, family, and treatment team ways to manage these concerns.
Physiotherapists: Evaluates and treats changes in physical abilities (like walking and balance training).
Occupational Therapists: Help the person learn or re-learn independent living skills (like dressing, cooking, or managing finances).
Speech-Language Pathologist/Speech Therapists: Evaluates and treats communication and swallowing issues. Looks at how the person understands what they speak, read, and hear.
Recreation Therapists: Helps the person explore and take part in leisure activities. Also helps the person learn new activities or new ways to do activities he or she did before.
Brain Injury Co-ordinator or Case Manager: Helps coordinate the care of people with brain injuries. Support families and other healthcare providers by offering information, resources, and services that are available.
Social Worker: Evaluates and treats coping and adjustment after a brain injury. Help with discharge planning, finances, and community resources.
Dietitian: Makes sure nutritional needs are met and teaches about healthy eating.
Transition or Home Care Co-ordinator: Nurses and therapists with information about home care services, equipment, or other options for supported living.
Person with the brain injury and family members: Make the final decisions about the person’s care and rehabilitation, including goals and plans. The family also gives emotional support and help the person learn and practice new skills and techniques. Extended family and friends can also be a great source of support.