March is Brain Injury Awareness Month
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 2.5 million people suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2010. From 2001 to 2010, the number of people who sought emergency care for a TBI increased 70 percent. Falls cause 35 percent of them, per the Brain Injury Association’s 2014 fact sheet, but car accidents cause another 17 percent. And, as Huffington Post blogger and A Normal Life author Lyrysa Smith recently wrote, “Brain injury changes everything.”
The person who suffered the brain injury may have trouble paying attention, concentrating, or remembering. He or she may also talk, think, and troubleshoot at a slower pace. When tasks that used to be easy take longer, he or she may become frustrated, angry, depressed, or moody.
“Thus, after injury,” Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai states, “individuals with TBI may be unable to function well in their social roles because of difficulty in planning ahead, in keeping track of time, in coordinating complex events, in making decisions based on broad input, in adapting to changes in life, and in otherwise ‘being the executive’ in one’s own life.”
Caring for someone with a brain injury can take its toll on family and friends.
“Researchers know a lot about the effects of caregiving on health and well being,” says caregiver.org. “For example, if you are a caregiving spouse between the ages of 66 and 96 and are experiencing mental or emotional strain, you have a risk of dying that is 63 percent higher than that of people your age who are not caregivers.”
To prevent discouragement, resentment, and burnout, the site offers several suggestions on how to take care of oneself.
Cleveland Area Brain Injury News
February 20, 2014, Cleveland Jewish News announced that Akron Children’s Hospital has been awarded a $400,000 grant to educate Summit County residents about traumatic brain injuries. The hospital has reportedly treated more than 1,000 TBI victims under age 18 in the last six years.
Lakewood teenager Nick Ventura and his family will hold their nonprofit organization’s first inaugural event this Saturday, March 22, per The Lakewood Observer. The St. Ignatius sophomore suffered a traumatic brain injury during an out-of-town snowboarding adventure in seventh grade. After undergoing surgery, he spent two weeks in a coma and another six in a pediatric ICU. He also had to relearn how to walk, talk, and feed himself.
The Ventura’s incorporated the 11 Foundation this January “to improve the lives of children who need financial assistance to cover medical treatment and rehabilitation,” per its mission statement.
Additional TBI News
If you suffer a traumatic brain injury in a car accident but don’t have health insurance, a hospital that is not designated as a trauma center may transfer you to one that is, according to a study published in the February issue of JAMA Surgery. “About 75 percent of U.S. hospitals are non-trauma hospitals,” according to USA Today..
A Cleveland doctor told reporter Kim Painter that the law forbids hospitals from dumping patients who can’t pay and that he “never knows a patient’s insurance status and never has such conversations with case managers.”
Still, in a study of more than 4,000 trauma patients under age 65, about 45 percent were transferred. “Transfers were 14 percent less likely in patients with Medicaid and 11 percent less likely in those with private insurance,” per Painter.
The Cleveland physician said this may have had more to do with the injury than the insurance. For instance, people who suffered head injuries were transferred more often than those who’d suffered an abdominal injury.
“Either way, such occurrences had the potential of putting those with health coverage at higher risk of not receiving the best trauma care,” Modern Healthcare stated. “Timely care in a designated trauma center reduces the overall risk of death rate by 25 percent compared to when it’s provided at a non-trauma care facility, according to the findings of a 2006 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.”