For patients who are rehabilitating from either a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or a spinal cord injury (SCI), this frightening time is made all the more uncertain when deciding what route to take with their long-term rehabilitative care. 

“There are hundreds of programs throughout the country that specialize in the acute phase of the injury rehabilitation process, [which is] the immediate hospitalization and following inpatient rehabilitation for the first three months or so,” explained Adrian Young, CEO of NeuroRehab Services, a nationwide provider of community-based neurologic rehabilitation services. “People need to have options after the initial rehabilitation for long-term.” 

Know your needs 

Some health care providers believe that the first two years after your injury is the only time you can make gains in recovering from a TBI or SCI. However, NRS and others that believe that you must continue to rehabilitate for the rest of your life. 

“Just like choosing the right school for your children or a career path that gives you a purpose, choosing the program that meets your short-term and long-term goals for recovery will most definitely give the patient a greater chance for positive outcomes,” said Young. “No one can or should promise people that it will be easy. It will be a long-term struggle and constant hard work to train the brain and body to compensate for any deficits related to [your] injury.” 

''“A person might try multiple health care providers or programs before they find the one that works for them — kind of like diets.”

Choosing wisely 

However, like most hard work — the rewards far outweigh the sacrifices. Young stressed that people can enjoy meaningful, happy lives post TBI or SCI. “Getting support from professionals who specialize in nothing but neurological rehabilitation is a big key to positive outcomes,” he said. “Patients should do their research and speak with multiple programs, and then choose what fits their individual goals and needs.” 

The programs involved at NeuroRehab Services bring their services to you to help you make your decision more comfortably. “We use cutting-edge technology combined with proven rehabilitation techniques along with complementary and alternative medicine to treat patients in place,” Young said. The company developed the Odyssey Program to treat patients where their lives, stress and complications take place in their home and community. Their services cover a wide range: TBI screenings; development of plans of care based on the patient’s current needs through an ongoing assessment process; medical management (neurology, psychiatry, physical medicine and rehabilitation and brain injury medicine); vocational rehabilitation and training; and care coordination utilizing networks of professionals from across the nation. 

Plans for every patient 

“Never give up,” said Young. “A person might try multiple health care providers or programs before they find the one that works for them — kind of like diets. Speaking of which, NRS recommends TBI/SCI patients should try to follow a Mediterranean-style diet. A recent American Academy of Neurology article shows the diet has positive effects on blood sugars, antioxidants and brain-boosting qualities the diet utilizes fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and healthy fats.” 

While the Odyssey Program specializes in treatment of TBI/SCI, they also treat over 600 different neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. The program uses a behavioral health model that features evidence based practices for TBI/SCI injury-related PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, substance abuse disorders and management of chronic pain. “Every person is different and so their treatment plan should be individualized to meet their goals and needs,” said Young, citing that they’ll work with patients’ commercial insurance, as well as workers compensation, veterans, attorneys and private pay patients. 

Young advised that the most important thing for TBI/SCI patients, post-injury, to know is that “like any other health care provider, the choice the patient makes can affect the outcomes. Patients should look for a program that provides progressive care.”