Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are truly something to worry about. In an instant, these injuries can forever change a life and the losses can cost a person and their family everything.

And yet, one reason we hear a lot about TBIs lately is that they are no longer something that “just happens.” There is more we can do about preventing and treating them than ever before.

Focusing on worker injuries, a writer for Claims Journal, an insurance industry publication, recently outlined the basics of what the industry needs to know to get the best possible patient outcomes.

Common causes of widely varying injuries

About 30% of all injury deaths are from TBIs and the top cause of TBI deaths is vehicle crashes. But deaths aside, the most common cause of all TBIs is falling, according to the article

These medical emergencies come in many shapes and sizes and from many causes. The signs and symptoms are often difficult to predict and injured people and bystanders alike commonly do not recognize them.

The moments after an injury are often critical

The long-term prospects for recovery from a TBI depend heavily on the “the pre-hospital situation,” in the article words.

Experts differ but the article suggests any injury causing any loss of consciousness means you should call emergency responders. Even a brief “blackout” in a person who is “fine now” is an emergency.

Responders should then carefully evaluate the person in place before transporting them.

The best quality care and rehabilitation is essential

Claims Journal strongly emphasizes that the best-quality rehabilitation care is essential to faster and more successful long-term outcomes. Families who, understandably, want a nearby facility should be convinced otherwise, the article suggests, since quality rehab clearly trumps frequent visitors.

Along the road, “a center of excellence” can make a major difference in the patient’s progress and outcome, as measured by the challenges (“TBI deficits”) they suffer and overcome.

These challenges can be:

  • Behavioral, including lethargy, physical aggression and wandering.
  • Cognitive, including disorientation and short-term memory loss.
  • Physical, including headaches, seizures, and speech and coordination problems.

The article emphasizes that the family’s participation and cooperation in TBI rehabilitation make a difference from the moment of injury to long-term prognosis. The effects of TBIs can last a few days to the rest of a patient’s life.