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Episode 73: Services And Support For Brain Injury Survivors

In this episode of Brain Injury Insider, host Michael Kaplen discusses key services and support for individuals with a brain injury.

Persons with a brain injury need to be treated with compassion and respect.  Notice I started this video by using the term person.

Why? Because a brain injury is not who you are.  When a brain injury is sustained, the person is still there, and we all need to understand, that it is the person that needs our support and assistance.

The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control tell us that every 9 seconds, someone will sustain a brain injury.  And how many of these persons will obtain the support and assistance they need from government programs or through private insurance? 

Unfortunately, my experience as the three term president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State, and my years of service on the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council, as a member, and twice serving as the council’s elected chair, informs me that the vast majority do not.

Many times, individuals and family members just aren’t aware of the types and kinds of services that may be helpful or how to access these services.

So today, I would like to review a comprehensive list of services and supports that may be necessary to persons who sustained a brain injury,  understanding that these services may not be appropriate or necessary for every person, and that over one’s lifetime as a brain injury evolves and impacts daily life, additional services and supports may become necessary.

Acute Rehabilitation:

Acute rehabilitation is often needed following a brain injury for physical injuries, cognitive skills, language and communication, movement, and behavior.

Sub-Acute Rehabilitation

Following a period of acute rehabilitation, a person may progress to Sub-Acute Rehabilitation.

Sub-acute rehabilitation may focus on community living skills, regulation of behavior and emotions, re-employment, academic skills, recreation activities, and the skills necessary for living independently.

Outpatient Services

Outpatient services may also be necessary following a brain injury.  These services include

Counseling/Behavioral Services

Counseling/Behavioral Services which may assist with the emotional and behavioral issues that can arise with brain injury. Brain injury can affect every aspect of a person’s life, and assistance is needed in processing these changes, understanding the losses and appreciating the new person that emerges following brain damage.

This assistance may also address altered family relationships between spouses, between a parent and a child, and between family members.

Many professionals may assist in providing these services including:

  • Family and Marriage Counselors
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers
  • Neuropsychologists
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists

Home Care Services

Returning home following a brain injury may require Home Care Services.

Home care services can play an important role in helping persons with brain injury to live in the least restrictive environment.

Some of the home care services following a brain injury include:

  • Skilled nursing services provided by a licensed nurse on a full time, part time, or intermittent basis.
  • Home Health Aide services provided by a certified home health aide to help with meal preparation, dressing, bathing, grooming, medication administration, and/or incidental homemaking services.
  • Personal Care services provided by a non-licensed personal care aide and are non-medical in nature and include independent living services.
  • Different therapies provided by licensed therapist including physical, occupations, respiratory, and speech therapy.

Independent Living Skills Training

Following a brain injury, a person may need training, assistance and support in day to day activities such as financial management, grooming, laundry, personal hygiene. 

Providing these services and supports may enable a person with a brain injury to live independently.  This is called Independent Living Skills Training.


Housing assistance including rent subsidies, assisting living or group home arrangements, physical modifications of the interior of a residence are also commonly required following brain injury

Long Term Supportive Services

A person with a brain injury may also require long term supportive service including household cleaning, meal preparation, shopping, paying bills, or visiting a medical provider.

Other services such as support groups may also provide benefits to persons with a brain injury and to members of their family.

I want to emphasize that this list is not exhaustive and different persons may require different services.  

A life care planner is a good resource to discuss what services a person with a brain injury may require.

Funding for these services may be difficult and private health or disability insurance may not pay for many services that are required. 

Different states provide different sources of funds to provide all or some of these services.  There are programs in many states, called waiver programs that will provide these services to persons with a brain injury while they are living at home.  You need to contact you state health department to see if waiver services may be available to fund some or all of what you may require.

You may be entitled to social security disability, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Your state brain injury association is also a good resource to tap into to determine what services may be available to you and where you can find these services.

Finally, don’t take NO for an answer.   You may be entitled to services and may need the assistance of a trained legal advocate to obtain services and supports. 

Audio version

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Brain Injury Insider

michael kaplen
Brain Injury Insider is a weekly video update by The Brain Injury Law Firm ®. We cover the latest news and developments in traumatic brain injury, concussion, and brain injury law.