Brain rehabilitation therapy helps people relearn functions lost as a result of a brain injury. These might include daily activities such as eating, dressing, walking or speech. Brain injuries can affect people in many different ways. People who experience serious brain injuries may have:
- Movement problems
- Emotional problems
- Thinking and memory problems
- Language problems
- Pain or numbness
Why it's done
It can be challenging to return to independent living, work or school after a brain injury. Mayo Clinic's brain rehabilitation team works to help people with brain injuries regain as much function — and help them become as independent — as possible.
A stroke is the most common cause of brain injury that requires brain rehabilitation. A stroke occurs when there is a lack of blood flow to the brain or bleeding in the brain.
Many people treated in Mayo's Brain Rehabilitation Clinic have had strokes. Other common causes of brain dysfunction include brain tumors and traumatic brain injuries, which are caused by external forces — such as a fall or car accident — against your head or body.
What you can expect
Brain rehabilitation often begins in the hospital, sometimes with a few minutes each day of mental and physical exercise. You may need inpatient brain rehabilitation at a special facility after you're ready to leave the hospital but before you're ready to go home.
During inpatient brain rehabilitation, your care team will help you to transition to living at home independently, to living at home with assistance or to living in a facility outside the home. Your team will work with you to help improve physical, mental and behavioral functioning.
Your therapy and treatment will depend on your individual needs. Brain rehabilitation specialists will work with you and your family to discuss treatment goals and determine ways to meet those goals.
You may need outpatient rehabilitation. An outpatient rehabilitation program focuses on helping you improve your physical, cognitive and behavioral functioning so that you can live and work as independently as possible after your condition has stabilized.
Mayo Clinic's Brain Rehabilitation Clinic offers specialized care from any member of the brain rehabilitation team. Team members include doctors trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation, physical and occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, advanced practice nurses, and other specialists.
The Brain Rehabilitation Clinic offers several outpatient programs, including:
Concussion management. Mayo's Brain Rehabilitation Clinic leads coordinated, comprehensive customized clinical evaluations of concussion. Care is also integrated between specialty teams in the departments of neurology, psychiatry and psychology, sports medicine, neuroradiology, and the vestibular/balance laboratory.
This model of care, focused on patient need and driven by evidence-based assessment and outcome measurement, provides the ideal setting for systematic and efficient multidisciplinary evaluations of concussive traumatic brain injury.
- Cognitive rehabilitation. In individual therapy sessions, cognitive rehabilitation therapists work with you to improve your thinking (cognitive) skills and maximize your success in personal and occupational roles.
- Vocational case coordination. Mayo Clinic staff help you develop a plan to resume work in your previous job field, help you develop new career goals or find ways to best resume other productive activities.
- Neuromuscular brain rehabilitation program. Physical and occupational therapists trained in brain rehabilitation use state-of-the-art approaches to treat mobility and motor control limitations and to maximize reintegration into independent living.
- Speech and language rehabilitation. In individual therapy sessions, speech and language pathologists work with you to reduce any language-based or other limitations to effective communication you may experience.
Brain Injury Coping Skills Group (BICS). BICS is a small group treatment program that consists of 12 sessions, each two hours in length, co-facilitated by a neuropsychologist and clinical social worker. The group is designed to help both survivors with brain injuries as well as family members or caregivers.
In BICS, education and training about brain injury will be provided, and you will learn important skills for coping with the effects of your injury.