New ABI Training: Module 1

Hello and welcome to Arcadia Homecare. This is Module One for Acquired Brain Injury training. In this training module, we are going to learn what an acquired brain injury is and some of its causes. We’re going to learn about the Glasgow Coma Scale, what it is, how it works, and what the scale numbers mean. We’re also going to learn about ABI recovery times, and we’re going to learn about some symptom overlap and dual diagnosis. Acquired brain injuries, also known as the older term used to be traumatic brain injuries or TBI. But now the common term is ABI. ABI can be caused by a number of things as listed here. Most commonly, it’s caused by motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, accidents at home, or sporting injuries.

The Glasgow Coma Scale, or GCS, is a measure of how severe a person’s coma is. It’s typically used by paramedics when they first arrive on the scene and find an unconscious person. It’s basically a score of how unconscious a person is. If paramedics talk to them or nudge them, do they get a response? If they get no verbal response, then they test their motor responses. And if they get no motor responses, then it’s a good sign that the person has a very severe head injury. A low score means their injury is very severe, and a high score means it’s very mild.

Recovery Time for an ABI is about a five-year window. Within that five-year time, we want to do as much rehab as possible because once the person hits that five-year mark in their recovery, things start to plateau, and that’s probably about as much recovery as they’re going to get. The next slide shows a graph illustrating the recovery plateau. Unfortunately, no one ever fully recovers from an ABI. They’ll show some improvement.

A brain injury is like the spread of pellets from a shotgun blast. If we fire a shotgun at two targets from the same distance away, the spread of pellets will all fall into the same-sized circle. But where exactly those pellets hit inside that circle will always be different. So the same is true of brain injuries. No two are exactly alike. They may be similar, but never exactly the same. Just remember that no two people are the same. No two brain injuries are the same. And no two brain-injured people are the same. Many clients are going to have deficits that overlap with each other. So you can see in the diagram below that we have an impulse control deficit on one side, so the person is really impulsive. And they also have short-term memory deficits on the other side, and those two things are going to overlap. So you might see a person that has very poor impulse control, they’re very impulsive, and they have short-term memory problems. So they might buy something impulsively, and then by the time they get home, they’ve completely forgotten that they bought that item impulsively.

Some clients can also be what’s called dual diagnosis. This is where the client has a mental health diagnosis either acquired before their accident or after their accident, and now they have an ABI. So think of it like someone who has been diagnosed as schizophrenic; they get into an accident. Now they are a schizophrenic person with a brain injury, and those symptoms can play off of each other just like we saw in the previous slide.

Time for a Knowledge Check. I hope you guys were paying attention. What I want you to do is write down these questions in an email, answer them in your own words, and then send them off to your R’s web teacher. Good luck.