Overcoming Traumatic Brain Injury

Told more than once that her husband would not survive, Brenda Rota relied on her strong faith, medical interventions and Meritus Health’s Total Rehab Care team to bring John Rota back to a functional life.

John experienced a traumatic brain injury or TBI when he hit his head on the bathroom floor. It wasn’t until 24 hours later when John complained of a crushing headache that Brenda drove her husband to their local hospital’s emergency department. A CAT scan indicated John had a brain hemorrhage.

A serious brain injury

A traumatic brain injury occurs when a bump, blow, jolt, or other head injury causes damage to the brain. Disabilities resulting from TBI depend on the severity of the injury, but in John’s case, TBI resulted in a long journey back to health.

After being air lifted to a Baltimore hospital, neurosurgeons removed part of John’s skull to relieve swelling and performed a second surgery to remove more fluid on his brain. After the surgeries, John spent an arduous 10 weeks in a hospital bed.

Finding the right help

Once John was discharged from the hospital and admitted to inpatient rehabilitation unit at a hospital closer to home, he made little progress due to heavy medication and was eventually transferred to a skilled nursing facility. There Brenda met a physical therapist who told her about Total Rehab Care’s traumatic brain injury program.

“Right after I made the appointment with Total Rehab Care, I knew this was the place,” says Brenda. Total Rehab Care or TRC specializes in traumatic brain injury. With several brain injury specialists on staff, TRC offers patients comprehensive speech, physical and occupational therapy programs in addition to a wellness program for patients who are discharged from skilled rehabilitation.

Coordinated rehabilitation

John experienced memory loss and balance issues a result of his injury and relied on a walker and wheel chair for mobility due to arm and leg weakness. Once enrolled in rehabilitation, he met with speech, occupational and physical therapists three times a week.

“He had a great outlook on getting back his life,” says Judy Peck, physical therapy assistant and neurology clinical specialist. John’s attitude further improved when he was released from speech therapy. “That’s when John knew his cognitive skills were intact,” adds Brenda.

Physical therapists used innovative therapies to improve John’s muscle strength and range of motion and incorporated the Bioness L300 to help John lift his foot when walking. They also introduced him to aquatic therapy.

“John loved the aquatic therapy program and felt like his old self when he was in the pool,” says Brenda.

TRC therapists worked as a team to ensure care coordination throughout all phases of John’s rehabilitation and encouraged family participation.

Hard work pays off

“I liked how the therapists would show me John’s home exercises so I could help him,” says Brenda. His therapists also focused on transitioning John back to his hobbies and home tasks such as paying bills, balancing the check book and cooking.

“I was acting as an enabler,” admits Brenda. “But his therapists wanted John to succeed in all areas of his life.”

Today, the couple continues to exercise in TRC’s pool two days a week. “It’s been two years of hard work,” says Brenda. “Thanks to the methods, encouragement and challenges put forth by the TRC therapists, John is now walking independently, resuming normal activities at home and preparing to return to work. TRC is a winning package.”