The recovery process after a traumatic brain injury can often take a long time, in large part because bleeding and swelling can prevent the brain from functioning properly while it heals. This can make it so that a person is unresponsive, unable to open their eyes or otherwise unable to interact. However, when the swelling does begin to lower, these things could change.
There are a few things that the loved ones of someone who is recovering from a brain injury should know about how it works. First of all, they want to understand the different states that a person may be in. They could be in a coma, in which they never respond and do not wake up. They could be in a vegetative state, in which they may respond briefly to things that happen. Finally, they could be minimally conscious, a state in which they can respond and communicate at times, on a very basic level.
Another thing to know is that the recovery process is often not that smooth because all days are not the same. On one day, a person may be given commands and show the ability to carry them out; the very next day, those same commands may go ignored. This inconsistency is to be expected.
The overall recovery time depends, of course, on many different factors. However, as a general rule, the initial six months are going to show the most drastic changes and improvements. People can keep recovering and improving for years after that, but it is often at a slower rate.
This all takes time, energy and money, so the family of anyone who is suffering from this type of an injury may be interested in knowing about their rights to compensation if the injury was caused by someone else.
Source: Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, "Understanding TBI: Part 3 - The Recovery Process" Thomas Novack, PhD and Tamara Bushnik, PhD, Aug. 09, 2014
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