MOST COMMON QUESTIONS
In 1997, the Brain Injury Association of America, Inc. adopted the following definition: an acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth. The injury commonly results in a change in neuronal activities that effects the physical integrity, the metabolic activity, or the functional ability of the cell. Causes of acquired brain injury include external forces applied to the head and/or neck (e.g., traumatic brain injury with or without skull fracture), anoxic/ hypoxic injury (e.g., cardiopulmonary arrest, carbon monoxide poisoning, airway obstruction, hemorrhage), intracranial surgery, vascular disruption (e.g.,arteriovenous malformation (AVM), thromboembolic events, fat emboli), infectious diseases, intracranial neoplasms, metabolic disorders (e.g., hypo/hyperglycemia, hepatic encephalopathy, uremic encephalopathy), seizure disorders and toxic exposure (e.g., substance abuse, ingestion of lead and inhalation of volatile agents). The term does not refer to brain injuries that are congenital or brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
It is important to remember that each person who sustains a brain injury will experience a unique set of symptoms. Some symptoms may last for a few weeks while others may last for a lifetime. The following is a list of common physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms of persons who have survived brain injuries. The following information has been gathered from the Brain Injury Association of America, Inc.
Cognitive Impairments Involve:
- Communication and language
- Memory, especially for learning new information
- Perception, sensory integration
- Attention and concentration
- Judgment, planning, and decision making
- Ability to adjust to change (flexibility)
- Organizational skills
Social and Behavioral Impairments Involve:
- Mood swings
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Lowered self esteem
- Sexual dysfunction
- Restlessness and /or impatience
- Inability to self-monitor
- Inappropriate social responses
- Difficulty with emotional control and anger management. Abrupt unexpected acts of violence
- Inability to cope
- Excessive laughing or crying
- Delusions, paranoia, mania
- Non-Age appropriate behavior
Neuromotor-Physical Impairments Involve:
- Vision, hearing, speech and other sensory impairments
- Lack of coordination and speed of movement
- Muscle spasticity (a condition that causes stiff, tight muscles, especially in the arms and legs, making movements stiff jerky or uncontrollable)
- Seizure disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Dysphagia (a disorder of swallowing)
- Dysarthria (a disorder of articulation and the muscular/motor control of speech)
- Balance, strength, and equilibrium
- Motor function
We encourage families to be involved as much as possible.
Anyone can make a referral. The process is simple. You may call Brain Injury Services of SWVA and state that you would like to make a referral. The receptionist will explain our intake process then get your name, phone number, and address to send out an application for services and a medical consent form. Once a completed application form has been submitted to BISSWVA and the requested medical information received, then the information will be presented to the Intake Review Board. That Board will determine whether the person referred is eligible for services.
This varies, depending on Case Management status.
The client and Case Manager develop a Individualized Service Plan together. The plan becomes the guiding document for delivery of case management services. The Individualized Service Plan is revised on an as needed basis. Goals may be developed in the following areas: housing, medical, vocational, transportation, social, recreational, financial, etc. Goals are specific, achievable, and measurable. Client tasks are identified with specific time frames for completion. Cases are reviewed on a quarterly basis.
A case is closed for a variety of reasons. Some reasons can be, but are not limited to:
- Moves out of Brain Injury Services of SWVA service area;
- Does not participate for more than three months;
- Has met all goals in the individualized service plan;
- Is an active substance abuser and not receiving treatment; or
- Becomes institutionalized for 90 days.
- Information and referral
- Case management
The most important thing to know about people who have experienced a brain injury is that just as each person is different, so is each person's rehabilitation different. Each person has different goals, different capabilities, different challenges, different resources, different interests, etc. A person-centered approach to setting goals, and planning strategies to achieve the goals, is a way of reminding those who are helping people with a brain injury, or other disability, that each person is different. Person-centered planning goes beyond the traditional planning process that occurs in the development of most rehabilitation or social service plans which typically focus on the services the "system" can offer. Rather than trying to fit a person into what the "system" can offer, the person-centered approach organizes truly individualized, natural, and creative supports to achieve meaningful goals based on the individual's strengths and preferences. Brain Injury services of SWVA Case Managers employ the principles of person-centered planning, and we call this our “person-centered philosophy.”