Total Community Care - Specialists in spinal & neurological care

Providing bespoke care nationwide for clients with spinal injuries and neurological conditions

17 Feb

Long Term Care for Clients with Brain Injury

The key to getting home and staying home after a brain injury is effective rehabilitation, good planning, and a bespoke team of carers and professionals to meet your ongoing care needs.

The brain is incredibly complex, and the results of any injury to the brain can range from mild changes to catastrophic, life-changing events.

Brain injury survival rates are improving all the time with advances in medical science and understanding. As important as survival rates are recovery rates, and this is more complex[i]. The complexity and range of the physical and functional brain mean that there’s huge variety in the effect and impact of a brain injury. The extent of recovery also varies, and isn’t always entirely predictable – the brain’s ability to ‘heal’ is limited, but people can make remarkable changes to compensate for injury.

Although injury to the brain can be catastrophic and wide-ranging in effect, improved care and rehabilitation services are improving outcomes for people with brain injuries all the time[ii]. Neurological rehabilitation is an area which remains consistently at the forefront of neuro and rehabilitative medicine.

Any kind of injury or condition that affects the brain can have a profound effect on a person’s abilities and a lasting impact on their life, and on the lifestyle and needs of both the injured person and the people around them.

Brain Injuries

Brain injuries are broadly divided into ‘acquired’ or ‘traumatic’.

Acquired brain injuries are usually a secondary result of a medical problem – for example, as a result of a stroke, or a ‘hypoxic’ brain injury – such as might result from lack of oxygen flow to the brain after a cardiac arrest.

Traumatic brain injuries are those usually sustained through direct force action to the skull, like in a car accident or a serious sports-related injury.

Whatever the cause of the brain injury, the impact can be wide-ranging, and the effects can be widely varying. The brain is the essential organ responsible for all conscious – and most unconscious – body processes, sensations, understanding, control, and thoughts. This means that it’s difficult to describe the effects of a brain injury – it can range from no noticeable effect, through to some memory loss, all the way through to profound disability.

Our team at Total Community Care understand that anyone requiring care at home after sustaining a brain injury is an individual, with specific needs and desires; no two people and no two conditions are the same. This is why a personalised, bespoke care package is essential to meet the needs of the person, not just the condition.

Having a hand-picked, dedicated team for your ongoing care means that you have control over the people who are coming to your home and helping you with all those things you might need help with. The way we put our teams together also means that you have consistency, continuity of care, and that we can offer our staff targeted training and support to help them look after you

Getting Home

When planning discharge home from hospital or a rehabilitation setting, it takes a whole multidisciplinary team to come together to make this transition as easy as possible[iii].

This is as much about you and the setting you’re coming home to, as it is about your functional ability and medical needs. To prepare for returning home you will need:

  • To be medically stable – time with physiotherapists, speech and language therapists, specialist doctors, nurses, and other rehabilitation specialists will help you get to a point where your needs are consistent enough to be managed at home. This might involve any of your daily living needs, anything from helping you get independently mobile to stable mechanical ventilation.
  • A home that’s ready for you – occupational therapists are usually the people most involved with assessing any new needs you have and making sure that everything at home is safe and appropriate for discharge. This might include adaptations such as improved access like widened doorways, ramps, and a stairlift. An appropriate bathroom or wet room with an accessible toilet, grabrails and a shower chair might be necessary.
  • Careful consideration of the things that matter to you as an individual, and the best ways to meet your social needs and lifestyle as well as physical needs – being able to get out and about, even if that involves having special breathing apparatus, specially designed wheelchairs, or just someone standing by.
  • Having the right care in place – a dedicated team who can provide care round-the-clock and any help that meets your particular needs – people who you’re comfortable with to provide intimate personal care, who can assess the best way to ensure you’re safe at home and stay that way; who make the meals you like, get you out and about, and generally meet any of your needs to facilitate your absolute best quality of life after a brain injury.

Wet room bathroom wet roomsIt can take some time to arrange a safe discharge plan – this time allows for home adaptations, for getting you to your best, most stable condition, and for compiling the right team of carers and professionals for input at home.

Unfortunately, it is common to see people trying to do too much too soon. One of the priorities of a good care team, however, is to make sure you get the rest needed to maximise your rehabilitation benefits.

The aim of a robust discharge plan is to get you home and keep you there; anticipating any bumps in the road and never rushing. It’s natural to be very eager to get home, but it can take time to get everything set up; we want to avoid anyone being admitted to hospital just because their social care needs aren’t being well met.

Having the right care team at home helps to reduce the chance of hospital admissions, but having the consistency of a dedicated care team who you get to know well also means that they’re in a good position to recognise any change in your condition. Carers who know you will know when things aren’t right, in a way that ad hoc or drop-in carers couldn’t.

Sometimes, planning discharge home with big changes and complex care needs takes a trial run – Total Community Care can work with the discharge team in your rehabilitation setting, liaising closely with occupational therapists to facilitate discharge trials.

Life After a Brain Injury

The range of functional changes that can occur after a brain injury mean that there’s no standard blueprint for the kind of life someone will lead afterwards. It depends on the individual, the extent of impact the injury has had on them, their care needs, and – at least as important as any of the practical considerations – the kind of life they’d like to lead, within their limits.

Whatever the extent of your brain injury, if you’re considering long-term care then there will be significant changes to the way you live your life. When it comes to the day-to-day activities of living, though, quality is key. We believe that the best way to enable you to maintain the kind of lifestyle that you enjoy is with a small group of dedicated carers and specialists who can get to know you.

It can take time to get used to the changes that come after any significant injury or change in ability and needs, but there are still ways to continue to do the things you enjoy – sometimes with a little creativity and adaptation. This depends on the extent of your ability – but simply getting out, whether in a specially adapted wheelchair, with mechanically assisted breathing, or needing only a little support, Total Community Care can help you enjoy your life.

With a bespoke care package, you and the people close to you can meet the carers, choose the people you want in your life, and make a plan to enable you to continue to enjoy the things you want to enjoy. We specialise in – and take pride in – providing a quality care package to promote your quality of life.

How Total Community Care Can Help

Having a brain injury can affect more than the individual who sustained it; it can have profound effects on family and friends, and can mean significant changes to the dynamics of a family. A person can go from being a breadwinner or caring for their children to needing significant care themselves. The needs of the family cannot be overlooked when planning care for a person with new needs; we aim to work with the whole family to make the transition into this new phase of everyone’s lives as smooth and easy as possible.

Traditional, drop-in care packages can offer adequate services when it comes to basic care needs: personal care, washing and dressing, continence needs and skin care can all be met to some degree by a conventional care package. For people with more significant or variable needs, a complete package is necessary. For people with variable oxygen requirements, with unpredictable continence, and who are at risk of damage to their skin from immobility, pressure or moisture, carers coming in three or four times a day simply cannot meet their needs.

Pulmonary odema and brain injuy

Total Community Care specialise in long-term solutions. We work with you and your medical and rehab team to create the right care package, with 24 hour care in your own home. We provide a service to meet your needs, and you choose what you want and need. We help you choose your own care team who can support you with all activities of daily living, give timely and effective care and support, and empower you to continue life as you want it.

Our staff work with you to help you rebuild the life you want – from cooking a meal to travelling the world, we support you – reablement, empowerment, and an individualised service. To meet the complex needs associated with a brain injury, we appoint a dedicated care manager for seamless integrated support. Our teams work together with their own support networks to continually improve their practice, and we provide a high level of education and training for our staff, specially tailored to meet the needs of their individual client.

Your care manager works with you and your family to coordinate a service that both meets your needs and fits your desired lifestyle. Getting home after a serious illness or injury is a time of many emotions – joy, fear, relief excitement, trepidation, and a whole range of complicated feelings. Having a care provider that enables you to meet and choose your own team, who will take over the practicalities of getting you home safely goes a long way towards easing that path – we aim to take the worry out of going home with additional care needs, and to keep you at home safely.

Support for you, support for those around you

Having a complete care package takes a lot of pressure off everyone when imagining life at home with new care needs. As you can choose the people who are there to assist you, 24/7, we hope that our staff become like family to you. Your loved ones can be as involved or separate from your care needs as they like; we work with people in all kinds of families. We’ve found that some families want to help provide hands-on support, and some prefer to keep those care needs separate from their special relationships within the family. There’s no right or wrong way to approach care at home, and we will be led by you and your family.

One of the benefits of choosing your own care team is something that isn’t always acknowledged by care providers: it’s just natural to get on better with some people more than others. Meeting a range of carers and supportive professionals and choosing your own team; people you want to allow into your home and who you can rely on to work in tandem with your family and lifestyle is incredibly important.

For more information or advice on planning a package of care at home, get in touch with our advisors at Total Community Care – we can work together to facilitate safe and effective care at home, enhance quality of life, and provide peace of mind for everyone involved.

[i] https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2019/05/08/Revised-guidelines-improve-survival-rates-for-traumatic-brain-injury-patients/9101557342416/

[ii] https://www.uptodate.com/contents/management-of-acute-moderate-and-severe-traumatic-brain-injury?topicRef=13854&source=see_link

[iii] https://www.headway.org.uk/about-brain-injury/individuals/rehabilitation-and-continuing-care/rehabilitation/