Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital was one of the first facilities in the country to offer traumatic and non-traumatic brain injury rehabilitation, and has remained a leader in the field for more than 30 years. Our brain injury program is the most comprehensive in the region and is a center of excellence. The program is fully accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC) and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
Over 400 brain injury patients each year travel to Bryn Mawr Rehab for our industry-leading technology, creative therapeutic approach and compassionate care. Nearly half are survivors of traumatic brain injuries. Causes for traumatic brain injury include motor vehicle accidents and falls. The other half has non-traumatic conditions, which include:
- cerebral aneurysms (brain aneurysms)
- hemorrhages in the brain
- anoxic brain injury
Brain injury treatment: Our approach
Our patients receive specialized treatment plans based on their individual needs and the severity of their conditions. Some of our brain injury patients come to us with extremely severe brain injuries but through our protocol of three hours of intensive therapy a minimum of five out of seven days, and our creative approach which includes tailoring therapies around what motivates each patient most, many patients leave with remarkable recoveries.
For example, since restoring balance is a critical skill to relearn, we sometimes recommend equestrian therapy to develop core strength and improve stability. As skills improve, the therapies increase in complexity.
We also use technology with our patients, to help them regain the physical and mental skills they had prior to the brain injury. These technologies include:
- the Lokomat body suspension mobility rehabilitator
- Smart Balance Master balance improvement system
- Bioness L300
For mild traumatic brain injury, often referred to as an "unseen injury," or post concussion syndrome, we provide evaluations and tailored treatment plans. Mild traumatic brain injury can change a person's personality, disrupt the senses and interfere with cognitive abilities, even when initial symptoms like dizziness, headache and nausea disappear. Ongoing symptoms may include memory and learning problems, unexplained mood swings, impaired planning or organizational skills and depression. Our multi-disciplinary team works together to address these symptoms and improve the condition of the patient.
We’ve treated brain injuries on patients of all ages—from children to the elderly. Many come from the greater Philadelphia region, but some also come from much further away. When admitted, most of these patients can’t perform half of the tasks necessary to live independently—functions like walking, dressing and speaking. However, by discharge many patients need only minimal assistance to complete these tasks. Of course, most of these patients continue with one of our specialized outpatient programs to further develop their independence and quality of life.
When polled in a recent study, 91 percent of patients rated the overall care in the brain injury program at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital as good or excellent, with 90 percent saying they’d recommend our treatment to others in need of brain injury recovery.
Inpatient brain injury rehabilitation and support
At Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, traumatic brain injury patients spend an average of 23 days on the unit, some spending much less time and others spending much more time, pending the severity of their injury. Our devoted 41-bed unit—where specially trained neurologists, physiatrists, certified rehab nurses, therapists, care managers and psychologists collaborate on an interdisciplinary care plan to establish and accomplish realistic goals—includes:
- an intensive monitoring suite for individuals with emerging consciousness and/or significant medical issues such as tracheostomy care
- a secured area and an observation room to accommodate individuals in early brain injury recovery stages where confusion and behavioral difficulties are common
- a specialized therapy gym that facilitates collaborative and comprehensive therapy services
- electronic Wanderguard tracking system
Additionally, patients have access to a simulated apartment that allows them to practice skills needed to return home as well as to facilitate overnight trials in a safe, supportive environment.
Every brain injury inpatient receives care 24 hours a day from physicians and nurses specially trained in rehabilitation. Their rehab program, customized for each patient, can include a mix of high-intensity physical and occupational therapy, speech pathology, psychology and more. During daily sessions with their therapists, patients work to build strength, range of motion, balance and coordination. Psychologists provide support and counseling to promote family relationships. On a regular basis during every patient’s stay, the care team meets to review progress, identify barriers to independence and create solutions tailored to that patient.
Brain injury patients have access to the following rehabilitation services:
- aquatic therapy
- cognitive remediation
- horticultural therapy
- physical therapy
- occupational therapy
- recreational therapy
- speech therapy
- vision clinic
- nutrition counseling
- pet therapy
- family education programs
Inpatient brain injury support group
This support group is open to individuals on the inpatient units who have experienced a brain injury. The group is led by a psychologist with a focus on adjustment and coping issues.
The inpatient brain injury support group meets on Mondays at 3:00 pm in the Maple Unit Dining Room. For more information, call 484.596.5430.
Outpatient brain injury rehabilitation and support
After inpatient brain injury treatment, patients can transition to our intensive Neurologic Day Treatment program, traditional outpatient rehab or begin to receive home care. With all of these programs, we focus on building the critical skills for returning to work, school, community and leisure activities. Our therapists work closely with patients to improve ambulation skills, upper arm function, vision, communication and any specific goals they may have for returning to their lives. For some, we provide recreational therapy and use the Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital independent living unit for occupational training. Brain injury patients can receive this individualized outpatient care at several of our locations throughout the Philadelphia region.
Our therapists may recommend one or more of the following specialized outpatient services to address more specific areas of concern:
- Neurologic Day Program
- driver rehab
- aquatic therapy
- assistive technology
- neuropsychological evaluation
- pain management
- vestibular (balance) therapy
- physical therapy
- occupational therapy
- speech therapy
- work hardening
Brain injury/stroke survivor support group
This support group welcomes survivors of brain injury and stroke. The group is co-facilitated by a neuropsychologist and a certified rehabilitation nurse with a focus on increased independence and adjustment to life after a brain injury or stroke. Emphasis is on open discussions amongst group members for support, networking and resource sharing. Experts and community leaders are invited to speak throughout the year.
The brain injury/stroke survivor support group meets on the second Tuesday of the month from 5:00–6:30 pm in the Administration Building, Conference Rooms 1–4. For more information, contact 484.596.5430.
Brain injury/stroke caregiver support group
Facilitated by members of our rehab team, this group welcomes caregivers of brain injury and stroke survivors. Family members learn how to cope with their loved one’s injuries and adjusted lifestyles.
The brain injury/stroke caregiver support group meets on the second Tuesday of the month from 5:00–6:30 pm in the Administration Building, Second Floor, Board Room. For more information, contact 484.596.5430.
Young brain injury survivors group (Victorious BIG)
The young brain injury survivors group offers a variety of activities to enhance the social lives of brain injury survivors of approximate age range 18–35. This group provides opportunities for survivors to meet new people as well as connect with old friends who are not only in their age group, but who have survived a traumatic brain injury. Events have included sporting events, holiday parties/gatherings, fundraising events and more. Events are typically help held every two to three months (at least four to five events a year).
For information, call 484.596.5426 or email email@example.com.
In brain injury treatment and recovery, family support is an essential component of the healing process and families are actively involved with every step of their rehabilitation program. Out-of-town families often take advantage of our on-site family lodging, The Laurels, in order to be by the side of their loved ones whatever time of day or night they’re needed.
Even as patients are preparing to be discharged, family members are trained to make the adjustment to home living. A mock apartment on the brain injury unit offers families a chance to test-drive life in the home under the watchful eye of our experts. Throughout outpatient care, we maintain the team approach in serving patients, involving loved ones as partners and guardians of continued success.