The Importance of a Rehabilitation Focus in Recovery after Brain Injury

Brain Injury Blog by Janelle Breese Biagioni

October 31, 2011

The Importance of a Rehabilitation Focus in Recovery 

Rehabilitation after brain injury is hard. It is not fun. It isn’t glamorous. But it is THE most important component to a person’s recovery. 

A rehab program is customized to meet the needs of the person and involves professionals such as a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, and a neuropsychologist. Rehab can be done at home, in an outpatient setting at the hospital, a rehab facility or in a medical clinic. The goal of rehabilitation is to assist the person in restoring functions they lost as a result of the brain injury but that can be restored, or to learn how to do things differently if those functions cannot be restored. While rehabilitation sounds like an event, in my opinion, it is more like a process… a process that is built upon each time the person does the work. A process takes time… sometimes a long time. 

Although I have not personally participated in rehabilitation, I have dedicated nearly two decades to supporting people who have. It has been my experience that they do want to get better and while they are doing the best they can, they often get discouraged because the process takes so long. I have encountered people who have completed their rehab in two years or less, while others are still working hard at the five-year mark. 

The reality is that if any one of us could wave a magic wand and make it better and easier for people to recover – we would, but we can’t. So what can we do? We can offer encouragement and support to the person and their family. We can fight to ensure that people have access to rehabilitation and supports for as long as they need it. We keep the doors to our community open and assure them they are valued, loved and wanted no matter how long it takes for them to get better and stronger. We create safe, affordable housing and meaningful employment in our community. Moreover, we promote community integration by living by example.

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