How to Choose a Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program
Important Criteria for Selecting a Facility for Brain Injury Treatment
Choosing a rehabilitation facility for recovery from brain injury is one of the most important decisions you will have to make in the near future. It is very important to be confident about the quality of care you or a loved one will receive when entering a brain injury rehabilitation program.
Although the final decision will ultimately depend upon individual circumstances, such as insurance and location, all rehabilitation programs have features that you may evaluate, regardless of your prior knowledge of brain injury treatment or catastrophic injury.
What Questions Should I Ask When Choosing a Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program?
In general, it is best to compare at least three brain injury rehabilitation programs to make an informed decision about the best facility for your loved one. Shepherd Center has compiled a list of questions you may want to ask as you research brain injury rehabilitation programs. We’ve provided a complete PDF list of critical questions that you may download now or read at the bottom of the page.
General Brain Injury Treatment Questions:
- How many patients are admitted to the acquired brain injury rehabilitation program each year?
- How many patients has the facility treated with injuries similar to yours?
- What is the average age of patients in the acquired brain injury unit?
- Are there patients in the program of the same age and sex as the patient considering admission?
- Does the hospital specialize in acquired brain injury rehabilitation services or is it just one of the many medical services offered?
- Is the facility equipped to manage life-threatening emergencies on site?
- Are patients able to begin the brain injury rehabilitation process on the acquired brain injury unit even if they have significant medical problems?
- Are patients transferred to another floor, unit or hospital if new medical problems arise?
- Does the facility offer services for every stage of recovery from brain injury, including intensive care, inpatient rehabilitation and outpatient services?
- Does your facility offer an inpatient program for those in a coma at a minimally-consciousness state?
- How often and for how long each day do patients get brain injury treatment by specialists such as physical and speech therapists? (Treatment should be no less than three hours per day.)
- Are activities planned for patients on weekends and evenings?
- Does your facility have full-time clinical educators for staff development and training to ensure that all faculty and staff are practicing the latest therapeutic interventions?
- What types of coping and support services are available – peer support, individual and group therapy, psychotherapy, neuropsychology, family counseling and vocational counseling?
- Are family members encouraged to participate in brain injury rehabilitation?
- To what extent?
- Does your facility have a family education program to prepare me for future caregiving responsibilities needed to support my loved one’s recovery from brain injury?
- What type of support do you offer after we return home?
- Are there free or low-cost living arrangements for family members participating in training?
- What percent of patients return to their home or community rather than long-term care facilities?
- How does that compare to other brain injury treatment centers?
- Rehabilitation hospitals measure patient results in terms of “functional improvement.” What is the facility’s average functional improvement measure (FIM) score and FIM change for patients with acquired brain injuries?
- What is the facility’s average length of stay for patients with injuries similar to yours?
- Were staff members helpful and friendly when information was requested?
- Were you offered an opportunity to tour the facility?
- What were your impressions of the overall atmosphere?
- Did you have the opportunity to speak with people currently participating in the brain injury rehabilitation program?
- Were they satisfied with their brain injury rehabilitation programs?