Natalie Pilie, MPT
Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability in children and adults from ages one to 44. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) changes the way a person thinks, acts, feels, and moves the body. Brain injury can permanently or temporarily change the complex functions of the body.
Each year, an estimated 2.4 million children and adults in the U.S. sustain a TBI – resulting in 52,000 deaths each year. Another 795,000 individuals sustain an acquired brain injury from non-traumatic causes. Currently more than 5.3 million children and adults in the U.S. live with a lifelong disability as a result of TBI. The leading causes of TBI are: falls, motor vehicle-traffic crashes, struck by/against events, and assaults.
Trauma can happen in a fraction of a second and your life can be drastically changed forever. A brain injury is devastating and the degree of recovery is never certain. A brain injury affects each person’s body differently. Injury to the brain may result in changes in behavior, varying levels of consciousness as well as one’s ability to remember. An individual’s ability to speak, reason, and make good judgment can also be compromised. Each of one’s senses may be altered after an injury to one’s brain. Caring for a person with a traumatic brain injury requires a highly specialized medical team as well as patient, caring loved ones to aid in their recovery.
Caring for a person with a brain injury can be one of the most challenging situations. However, helping a person to return to work, go to college, play with their kids again or walk their daughter down the aisle makes all the rehabilitation processes gratifying. A strong team approach is required when working with someone with a brain injury. The team may consist of: physicians, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, neuropsychologists, therapeutic recreational therapists, rehab counselors, case managers, dieticians and respiratory therapists.
A brain injury not only affects the person, but everyone in their family and their community. Life is turned upside down, daily routines are altered and every ounce of energy is directed towards the patient and their recovery. A brain injury is a lifelong disease process; therefore, family members are encouraged to participate throughout the rehabilitation process in order to gain an understanding of the injury. They must learn how to assist their loved one in order to further maximize their potential.
Learning of the resources that are available to the patient and their family will also aide in the recovery process.
Always remember, the brain is remarkable and as professionals who have the special responsibility of assisting our patients back to function; we are constantly astonished and amazed by what our patients are able to achieve.
Brain Injury Rehab at Touro
The Touro Rehabilitation Center is a CARF accredited facility with specialized rehabilitation services for brain injury. We improve the quality of life for adolescents and adults by enhancing function, increasing independence and facilitating community re-entry.
Natalie Pilie, MPT, graduated from the University of New Orleans with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Physiology, Human Performance and Health Promotion. In 2007 she graduated from Louisiana State University Health Science Center with a Masters in Physical Therapy. She began her career as a Physical Therapist in 2007 at Touro’s Rehab Center. In 2009, she was promoted to Brain Injury Program Supervisor. She is a member of the Brain Injury Association of Louisiana and the American Physical Therapy Association.