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 Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program

The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is a leader in rehabilitative care for traumatic and nontraumatic brain injuries. As pioneers in brain trauma rehabilitation, we develop new treatments and therapies to restore independence and enhance quality of life for those who have incurred serious brain injuries.

Each brain injury is unique. A brain injury may be mild, with a brief change in mental status, moderate, with a loss of consciousness, or severe, causing a prolonged coma. Mild, moderate and severe brain injuries can lead to long-term symptoms and the potential for permanent disability. Rehabilitation of your brain injury begins as quickly as possible in the hospital. As your condition improves, rehabilitation services increase.

The outcome following a brain injury depends on many variables including:

  • Nature and severity of the brain injury
  • Type and degree of any resulting impairments and disabilities
  • Overall health of the patient
  • Family support
  • Quality of the rehabilitation care

Rehabilitation maximizes your capabilities at home and in the community, improves self-esteem and promotes independence.

Our program provides services to help maximize the physical, cognitive and psychological recovery and to restore quality to life.

Our Patients

We provide rehabilitative care for people who have experienced brain injuries related to:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Stroke (blocked or bleeding blood vessel in the brain)
  • Hematoma (heavy bleeding into or around the brain)
  • Aneurysm (a weakened area of an artery wall that bulges or expands)
  • Brain tumor
  • Infection
  • Neurological disorders (diseases of the brain, spinal cord and nerves)
  • Anoxia (the brain does not receive oxygen) and hypoxia (the brain does not receive enough oxygen)

Why Choose The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center?

If a brain injury causes problems with movement, walking, communication, swallowing safely, thinking skills or behavior control, then rehabilitation is crucial to maximize the potential for recovery. Recovery may take weeks, months or may be a lifelong process.

Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center provides groundbreaking treatments for brain injury that are based on the latest research available.

There are many reasons to choose our programs and services:

  • We help thousands of people each year to regain independence and improve quality of life after a brain injury. Our Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program is designed to facilitate treatment plans that help you:
    • Optimize your brain's own healing (plasticity)
    • Exercise and receive therapy to improve mobility, strength, swallowing, communication and thinking
    • Enhance skills needed to perform daily activities
    • Develop strategies to compensate for restrictions on everyday life
  • As a nationally recognized model system for treatment and research of brain injuries, you receive:
    • The most advanced treatments and therapies
    • Access to the most recent data from long-term studies of traumatic brain injury patients
  • We are the only rehabilitation program in central Ohio certified for traumatic brain injury.
  • Our staff has experience that only comes with years of specialization and exchanging information with colleagues from leading brain injury centers in North America.
  • Our patients have excellent outcomes including:
    • Functional gains that exceed national standards
    • Discharge-to-home rate that is higher than the national average
    • Recovery of self-care, mobility and cognitive thinking skills exceeding the national averages
  • Our brain injury specialists are nationally certified by the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists (ACBIS), which establishes best practices for brain injury rehabilitation.
  • Through group therapy and peer support, you learn how to regain social and functional skills.
  • We offer you and your family a specialized educational series dedicated to brain injury recovery.
  • Our rehabilitation process includes a team of healthcare professionals with different areas of expertise working together to care for you and help you reach your specific goals.
  • We offer you a continuum of specialized rehabilitative care:
    • Acute hospitalization
    • Inpatient rehabilitation
    • Outpatient rehabilitation
  • We are proud that our Inpatient Rehabilitation Programs at Dodd Hall and Outpatient Medical Rehabilitation Programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). CARF recognized our programs as meeting the highest standards in quality, safety and outcome measures, which provide risk-reduction and accountability in our patient care.
  • For 19 consecutive years, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's rehabilitation program has been ranked among the best in the country by U.S.News & World Report.
  • Since The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is an academic medical center, you benefit from innovative research, a depth of medical expertise and the newest technologies and treatment techniques available.

Our Services

The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program offers rehabilitation services to help in each phase of your rehabilitation – from services offered in the hospital (known as inpatient services) to those offered after returning home (known as outpatient services). These services offer a continuum of care to help achieve your highest level of recovery.

Our goal is to help you get back  as much as possible to the person you were before your injury. Our medical specialists work to stabilize you, both medically and neurologically, so you can receive the full benefit of our rehabilitative care and treatment, which may include:

  • Adaptive technology devices (assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, braces and special computer equipment, and technology) for easier home and work activities
  • Augmentative communication assessment and training to determine communication needs and appropriate aids and techniques
  • Aquatic therapy (rehabilitation exercises performed in a warm water therapeutic pool)
  • Arts therapy (uses the creative process to help patients improve physical skills, thinking skills and emotional well-being)
  • Cognitive therapy (helps with thinking and understanding skills)
  • Functional electrical stimulation (uses low levels of electrical current to stimulate physical or bodily functions lost through paralysis)
  • Locomotor training (LT) (a method of physical therapy where the patient is suspended in a harness over a treadmill, while specially-trained therapists move their legs to simulate walking)
  • Botox®, nerve blockade and baclofen pump therapy (to reduce spasticity and tightness in selected muscle groups)
  • Medications for cognitive, communication and motor skill recovery
  • Neurological diagnostic tests (such as CT scan, MRI and EMG)
  • Neuromodulation (the use of neurological pacemakers and other devices to deliver electrical signals, medications and other therapeutic agents precisely into the brain, spinal cord and nervous system)
  • Neuropsychological evaluations (measure concentration, learning and other skills)
  • Pain management (care that alleviates or reduces pain)
  • Rehabilitation psychology (behavioral and psychological treatment for patients and families coping with chronic illness, chronic pain and disability)
  • Occupational therapy (helps patients participate in activities of daily living)
  • Patient education focused on lifestyle adjustments
  • Physical therapy (helps patients improve strength, mobility and fitness)
  • Bioness technology (electrical stimulation medical devices designed to help people gain mobility and function)
  • Saeboflex technology (a hand orthotic that helps maximize arm and hand function following a neurological injury)
  • Serial casting for contracture management (casts are reapplied to stretch and maintain the new lengthened position of hyperactive muscle groups)
  • Advanced splinting (splints applied to wrists, hands, ankles and feet to help lengthen muscle groups and prevent deformity)
  • Optokinetic training (exercises and activities to increase visual field and visual perception)
  • Real world simulations (such as community reentry and independent living apartment)
  • Respiratory therapy (treatment of breathing disorders using respirators or aerosol medications)
  • Return-to-work training
  • Driver training
  • Speech therapy (treatment of speech and communication disorders)
  • Videofluoroscopy, fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation for swallowing, and neuromuscular electrical stimulation to diagnose and treat swallowing disorders
  • Recreational therapy (helps patients engage in recreational and leisure activities to enhance community participation and satisfaction)
  • Vision evaluation and vision therapy (therapy for the eyes and brain)
  • Counseling
  • Case management (coordination of inpatient and post-hospital care and services for patients and families)
  • Vestibular therapy (exercise-based program that helps improve balance)

Your Treatment Team

Your personalized treatment plan is implemented by a team of specialists who may include:

  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians or physiatrists (specialize in helping people regain body functions lost due to medical conditions or injuries)
  • Neurologists (specialize in disorders of the nervous system)
  • Neurosurgeons (specialize in surgery on the brain and other parts of the nervous system)
  • Neuropsychologists (specialize in the effects that injury to or diseases of the brain and spinal cord have on emotions, behavior and learning)
  • Certified rehabilitation nurses (specialize in the care of the chronically ill and injured)
  • Physical therapists (specialize in helping patients achieve maximum strength, balance and mobility)
  • Occupational therapists (specialize in improving patients' ability to complete activities of daily living)
  • Speech-language pathologists (specialize in helping patients improve communication, cognition and swallowing)
  • Recreational therapists (specialize in providing education and community-based interventions to improve patients' physical, mental, social and emotional well being)
  • Respiratory therapists (specialize in assessing and treating breathing disorders)
  • Dietitians (specialize in nutrition and dietetics)
  • Social workers (specialize in the social, emotional and financial needs of families and patients)
  • Case managers (specialize in the coordination of inpatient and post-hospital care and services for patients and families)
  • Rehabilitation engineers (specialize in determining the proper assistive technology devices, such as wheelchairs, braces and special computer equipment, for patients)

Care Locations

Additional Specialized Services

Your rehabilitation team may recommend a variety of other rehab services that may include:

Additional Resources


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