Brain Injury

Medical Reviewer: Kenneth Ngo, MD
Last Updated: March 18, 2021
Brooks is offering in-person and telehealth visits with all of our outpatient clinics as well as with our physician medical group. For outpatient, please call our Central Intake Unit at (904) 345-7277. For Brooks Medical Group, please call (904) 345-7373.


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The brain is extremely complex, and we know that a brain injury affects each person differently. That’s why at Brooks Rehabilitation, we offer an individual care plan focused on each patient’s specific needs and goals. We have extensive experience in caring for patients with complex, catastrophic brain injuries, both inpatient and outpatient through the entire continuum of brain injury rehabilitation. We provide specialized, focused rehabilitation care plans and interventions using the most innovative, scientifically supported treatments available.

Why Choose Brooks?

Brooks Rehabilitation is a national leader in providing excellence in care throughout our healthcare system. We have received recognition for our commitment to providing cutting-edge technology, forward-thinking research and continuing education and training. Annually, we help more than 700 patients* with brain injuries and their families achieve their goals and rebuild their lives through our Brooks system of care.

Brooks is set apart by the expertise of our clinicians who care for patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and non-traumatic brain injury. Our team includes certified brain injury specialists and a certified cognitive therapist. Instead of rotating staff members across our units of care, the majority of Brooks clinicians are dedicated to their specialty — which means our patients receive best-in-class care.

Our technology and treatment plans have been honed over 50 years. Tried-and-true evidence-based practices mean that patients with an acquired brain injury often experience faster recoveries.

The depth and breadth of services offered at Brooks mean patients receive highly personalized care. If a patient wants to learn how to play golf in a wheelchair, they can. If they want to drive again, we can help. We cater to the specific goals of each patient so they can return to life and the things they love to do.

Learn more about where brain injury rehabilitation takes place.

*Medicare patients

Brooks Brain Injury Rehabilitation Programs

At Brooks, our passion for our patients makes us who we are. We go above and beyond to ensure each patient and their caregivers/family members are taken care of, both in regards to non-TBI and TBI treatment, and holistically as an individual. Our partnerships in the community allow us to advance care based on specific needs and limitations of a patient. Every year, Brooks provides approximately $10 million in charity care. We remove the red tape so our clinicians can do what they do best — care for patients.

We also believe that a patient’s family and caregivers are an indispensable part of our team. We ask them to participate in a patient’s rehabilitation process from day one, first observing, and then becoming involved over time. We demonstrate necessary care skills, share important information, and ultimately meet patient’s loved ones where they are to ensure a successful transition home when the time comes.

Disorders of Consciousness

The Disorders of Consciousness (DOC) program is a specialized short-term program designed for patients who present in a reduced or minimally conscious state. This program allows comprehensive evaluations and therapy for this special population earlier than the usual rehabilitation process, which typically requires a patient to be able to engage and follow directions.

In the DoC program, a patient will have a comprehensive team evaluation, led by a neuropsychologist, which is completed with a cognitive therapist, a physiatrist, as well as physical, speech and occupational therapists. The evaluation provides the patient’s family with an accurate clinical diagnosis of their loved one’s recovery state.

A patient in the DoC program will be provided specific therapies, medications and stimulation that may promote recovery. The team conducts regular measurements to determine progress. If in that timeframe the patient progresses and can demonstrate consistent and purposeful interaction with the environment, such as using basic objects or reacting to communications or commands, they are said to have “emergence from DoC.” The patient would now be able to engage with a therapist — even if at a low level — and would become a candidate for traditional brain injury rehabilitation.

If a patient does not emerge within an allotted timeframe, it does not mean the patient has stopped progressing or won’t emerge later. However, it is not optimal to leave the patient in the hospital after that time. Therefore, a major part of the DoC program is to fully train and equip patient families/caregivers to care for their loved ones at home, and to recognize progress and potential emergence for themselves.

Brain Injury Day Treatment Program

The Brooks Brain Injury Day Treatment program offers therapy to help patients with brain injuries transition from an inpatient setting to their home. This program helps to ease the transition from acute care or inpatient rehabilitation to home. It was created to help improve cognitive/thinking, communication ability, social skills and emotional stability for patients, all while they continue to regain physical abilities. The program creates a wonderful environment for growth, recovery, education and camaraderie.

 

“I have nothing to say except praises for my experience. The day treatment program has changed my life. My team encouraged me and taught me what I needed to know. I know now that I can do this! I will be successful in the future because I have already been successful at Brooks.” – Brain Injury Day Treatment Program participant

 

To determine the intensity and length of treatment that will be most beneficial, care begins with a comprehensive neurobehavioral status exam or a neuropsychological evaluation. Customized therapy is then available up to five times per week. Physical, occupational, speech, cognitive rehabilitation therapy, as well as psychology and biofeedback are provided in a combination of small group and one-on-one sessions.

The program operates from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Each schedule is individualized to meet patient goals and will likely include individual and group-based therapies. The group-based therapies form the core of the program services and provide an enriched environment to foster healing of the brain and neuroplasticity (neurological compensation of the brain). Within the 6 ½ hours that patients are in the program, they may receive individual speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychotherapy or biofeedback therapy depending on the needs assessed at the outset of therapy.

The treatment team meets weekly to discuss goals and progress. Over the course of six to 12 weeks, patients spend most of their day working with highly trained therapists in consultation with our physicians to improve memory, attention, multitasking and functional life skills.

 

“Day treatment was the best part of my recovery. This program has greatly improved my concentration, mobility and many other skills.” – Brain Injury Day Treatment Program participant

 

There is also a continuum of care within the program. Three modules have been developed to address home, social and community/work skills. A patient can begin the program at any stage, depending on his or her needs. Through a self-rating system, 99% of the participants in this program rated themselves as significantly better than they were before entering.

Neuro Recovery Centers

Our Neuro Recovery Centers (NRC) are a state-of-the art rehabilitation center offering specialized equipment for customized rehabilitation during and after traditional therapy. This unique gym allows patients to continue ongoing exercise and conditioning to maintain and improve functional movement and abilities. Members receive access to our innovative technology and can utilize the gym up to six days per week.

Physical Therapy technology utilized:

Independent Program Equipment and Services offered:

Aphasia Center

The Brooks Rehabilitation Aphasia Center (BRAC) is dedicated to helping patients with aphasia achieve the highest level of recovery and participation in life. The Aphasia Center is committed to providing support, education and training in a stimulating communication environment to those affected by aphasia, including the family and communication partners. The center provides different programs depending upon patients’ and families’ needs.

Adaptive Sports and Recreation

Brooks Rehabilitation offers one of the most comprehensive and diverse adaptive sports and recreation programs in the country. Our program provides opportunities for fun, fitness and friendship to individuals of all ages and abilities living with physical and/or visual disability. Our activities enable the essential social connection and physical activity that promote health, well-being and quality of life. Individuals may enjoy recreational or competitive participation in year-round team and individual activities. No experience is required and there is no cost for participation — all equipment, instruction and coaching provided is free to all individuals.

Brooks Clubhouse

Another great resource is our post-discharge facility for brain injury patients, the Brooks Brain Injury Clubhouse. This community benefit program provides a place for social interaction, so patients and their families can connect with others experiencing similar journeys.

Technology

Our brain injury treatment plans are designed to meet patients’ and family members’ recovery needs and goals. Our treatment plans help patients progress from one care setting to the next using the latest state-of-the-art equipment and innovative, scientifically proven technologies. Our clinicians are dedicated to helping patients reach the highest level of recovery and participation in life using the best available treatment technologies.

After a brain injury, our expert clinicians will evaluate patients’ needs and determine which technologies can be used to provide the best results.

  • Hybrid Program: At Brooks Rehabilitation we recognize that neuro-recovery takes a lot of time and hard work and so our goal is to provide therapy in the inpatient rehabilitation setting that can be continued as you or your family members’ progress. To support this, our Hybrid Program is designed to bridge the gap from inpatient rehabilitation to outpatient by offering structured cognitive and exercise-based programs. Baseline non-TBI and TBI treatment requires three hours of therapy each day. However, neuro-rehab is most successful when therapy is more intense, and relates back to things patients love to do. That is the basis for the Hybrid Program — individuals can increase therapy and drive their own recovery to meet their personal goals, in addition to the standard daily therapy they are provided.
  • FES Bike: Functional electrical stimulation of the peripheral nerves along with the patterned movement of this bike allows patients’ muscles to work even if there is limited or no muscle control due to a brain injury.
  • Body weight support: Utilizes a body harness that is worn by the patient and suspended from the ceiling and/or body weight support device. Body weight support allows for a percentage of a patient’s weight to be offloaded by the device in order to create a permissive environment for challenging activities such as walking, jumping, and squatting.
  • Cognitive Lab: A computer and tablet-based lab with interactive software and applications to challenge and improve cognition and communication.
  • Circuit Training: A combination of strength, balance, and endurance activities that are individually prescribed to promote neurorecovery after a brain injury.
  • Exoskeletons: Robots worn by patients providing them with mechanical assistance to walk. This assistance allows patients to take larger more consistent steps in order to accelerate motor learning after a brain injury.
  • Erigo Pro: The Erigo combines gradual verticalization with cyclic leg movement and loading to allow for early mobility in an upright position. The activity is enhanced by the synchronized functional electrical stimulation (FES) in the ErigoPro. By providing a safe solution for early mobilization, the Erigo counteracts the negative effects of immobility and accelerates the recovery process with intensive sensorimotor stimulation.

Our Patients

At Brooks Rehabilitation, we care for those with extremely complicated acquired brain injuries. Our specially trained staff and state-of-the-art equipment will help provide our patients with their greatest outcomes. On our brain injury floor, we treat patients progressing through various levels of recovery from a minimally conscious state to a highly functional and interactive state. We understand that every brain injury is different and we work closely with patients and their families to develop an individualized treatment plan to provide optimal results for each patient.

Expert Brain Injury Team

Our highly trained, physician-led brain injury rehabilitation team understands that recovery means adapting to a new way of life. Our clinicians are recognized leaders in their field, regularly conducting research and speaking at conferences all over the world. All of our clinicians also receive ongoing training through the Brooks Institute of Higher Learning where we offer world-class educational opportunities to the local and regional healthcare community and boast of a nationally recognized clinical residency program. We offer a compassionate approach focused on providing the physical, cognitive, emotional and social care needed to maximize each patient’s recovery.

 

Medical Reviewer

Kenneth Ngo, MD

Medical Director of Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital and the Brain Injury Program
Dr. Ngo is Board-Certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, with a subspecialty board certification in Brain Injury Medicine and has been at Brooks Rehabilitation since 2010. Dr. Ngo provides care for patients with complex, catastrophic neurological and other brain injuries, both inpatient and outpatient through the entire continuum of brain injury rehabilitation.