Totally Kids Rehabilitation Hospital offers hope, treatment and care for children with traumatic brain injury

LOMA LINDA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Every year, approximately 2.8 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury, including a disheartening percentage of young children and adolescents who, along with the elderly, are the population most likely to suffer from this disease. Fortunately, for many of these children, Totally Kids Rehabilitation Hospital continues to provide the hope, treatment, and interdisciplinary care needed to improve the quality of life for these individuals and their families.

“Brain damage affects who we are and how we think, act and feel. It can change everything about us in seconds,” says Pauline Hennessey, vice president of child development and rehabilitation services at Totally Kids. “March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, the perfect time to draw attention to the seriousness of this problem and what is being done to help those who suffer.”

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a sudden injury that damages the brain. It can happen when there is a knock, bump or jolt to the head. Some of the more common causes include falls, being struck by an object, or blast injury from explosions. For children and young adults, the most common causes are traffic accidents, sports injuries such as concussions, and child abuse, which is the most common cause in children under four.

“No two brain injuries are the same, and the effects of brain injury are complex and vary widely from person to person,” said Thaddeus Wilson, MD, MPH, who provides physical medicine services. and rehabilitation to Totally Kids patients. “This is of particular concern with regard to children, as a child’s brain is still developing. Cognitive impairment in children with brain injuries may not be immediately evident after the injury, but may become apparent as as the child grows.In this regard, traumatic brain injury in children is a public health problem with a ripple effect because inadequate care or delays in care can lead to disability that lasts until the adulthood.

“These implications can create lifelong challenges for living and learning,” Dr. Wilson continues. “That’s why it’s so important not to delay seeking care if a child has suffered a blow to the head and is experiencing confusion, blurred vision or difficulty concentrating.”

Totally Kids Rehabilitation Hospital provides care for children ages one month to 21 years with TBI. For each of these children, a personalized care plan is developed and then implemented by an interdisciplinary care team made up of specially trained doctors, experienced nurses and physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and recreational therapists. In collaboration with the parents/guardians and the outpatient services, a post-rehabilitation plan has also been drawn up when the child returns home.

At Totally Kids, physiotherapy for each child focuses on increasing functional mobility for a safe return home, including bed mobility, transfers, gait/stair training, mobility in a wheelchair, strength monitoring, balance, endurance and motor control. Recreational therapists focus on leisure activities and virtual reality to minimize anxiety, which is common after brain injury. Occupational therapy focuses on increasing activities of daily living, including self-feeding, toileting, dressing, toileting, and bathing. Speech therapy focuses on receptive and expressive communication, verbal and nonverbal cognition and memory, safety, and problem solving. Together, staff optimize the care environment to help reset sleep and wake cycles.

This clinical team is supported by pharmacists, dietitians, case managers and social workers, all focused on the specific needs of each child. Children at Totally Kids benefit not only from the talents, clinical excellence and high degree of caring of a dedicated staff, but also from the latest cutting-edge technologies found in the nation’s most sophisticated pediatric rehabilitation centers.

“Tragic traumatic brain injuries have increased over time, as have the number of ER visits, hospitalizations and resulting deaths,” says Hennessey. “By implementing best practices in clinical care and working on medical complications during rehabilitation, we have achieved a long history of extraordinary clinical improvements for patients with TBI, which is why so many physicians and of parents trust Totally Kids with their children.”

More information about Brain Injury Awareness Month and brain injury in general can be found at www.biausa.org.

About Totally Kids

For more than 50 years, Totally Kids has been a national leader in providing personalized rehabilitation and adjustment services for children with a family focus. Programs include pediatric acute rehabilitation, intermediate subacute and residential care, and an innovative “Totally Infants Program” specialty created for the care of infants who are ready to transition from a NICU but not yet ready to go home. For more information, visit www.totalkids.com.

About Antoine L. Cassell

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