Scripps Encinitas Program Helps Brain-Injury Patients Regain Living Skills

Brain Injury Day Treatment program offers comprehensive menu of individualized therapies

Woman works at gardening after successful brain injury therapy and treatments.

Yvette, a 50-year-old stroke patient, entered the Scripps Encinitas Rehabilitation Center’s Brain Injury Day Treatment program on March 3 in a wheelchair. On July 9, she walked out on her own with a new outlook on life.

“Having a devastating experience like a stroke makes me realize how lucky I am — lucky to be in such a wonderful program like the Scripps Rehabilitation Center’s Brain Injury Day Treatment program,” Yvette said. “I truly believe that I am where I am today because of all the amazing and caring therapists, nurses and others that have crossed my path. They have turned a bad experience into a blessing for me.”

Understanding brain injury

What is a brain injury and what causes it? The word injury often leads people to immediately think of a traumatic episode like a car accident or bicycle incident that can cause a brain injury. In the U.S., traumatic brain injury happens every day, with one person sustaining a traumatic brain injury every 21 seconds.

An estimated 5.3 million people — a little more than 2 percent of the U.S. population — currently live with a disability resulting from traumatic brain injury. Brain injury can also happen as a result of what is termed as acquired brain injury. An acquired brain injury can be the result of a stroke, a heart attack, a trauma, multiple sclerosis or other brain condition.

Comprehensive rehabilitation services

The Scripps Rehabilitation Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, one of only two rehabilitation centers in San Diego County specializing in brain injury, has a team of specially trained therapists who have extensive knowledge and experience helping individuals with all types of brain injuries.

Whether an individual comes to the center because of a medical stay in the hospital or is referred by a physician for outpatient therapy, the Center is equipped to help brain-injured individuals who want to return back to their normal active lifestyle, work or school.

Launched in 1994, the Brain Injury Day Treatment Program helps previously active individuals get back to their normal, productive lifestyle. Most individuals who come to the program have already gone through an intensive acute inpatient rehabilitation program immediately after the injury and have regained basic cognitive orientation and basic motor skills such as brushing their teeth, getting in and out of bed and walking.

Whether you are a school teacher, an older person who plays golf, a student or a utility company line worker, the program is structured with goals and projects that will help you return to the community and the active lifestyle you enjoyed before brain injury.

Starting the Brain Injury Day Treatment program

A preliminary report from your hospital or physician will begin the evaluation process by the Scripps Encinitas team of specially trained therapists to determine your eligibility for the Scripps Brain Injury Day Treatment Program.

The program’s specific eligibility requirements have been established in order to determine which individuals are best suited for and will benefit the most from the program. Individuals who were active in their community, work or school prior to their injury and want to work to get back to their previous activities usually achieve the most improvement.

In order to be eligible for the program, individuals must be medically stable and continent. Medications cannot be taken during the daytime therapy sessions, so medication schedules may need to be changed in order to participate in the program. Individuals must have reliable transportation to and from the Rehabilitation Center for the daily therapy sessions.

Program therapy and services

Once accepted into the program, a team of rehabilitation specialists that include physical, occupational and speech therapists determine an individual’s level of activity before their injury through a set of extensive interviews that may include employers, family members and friends.

A structured set of cognitive and motor tests help further determine where an individual is within the recovery process. Realistic projects, goals and timelines for the individualized program therapy sessions are customized for each person.

The duration of the individualized program varies from person to person, based on what an individual is able to accomplish.

As an individual moves through his customized program, assessments and evaluations are completed on a regular basis. Therapy sessions and work projects are adjusted daily as needed. Every two weeks, the team of rehabilitation therapists hosts a patient family conference to review progress, discuss issues and assign homework for the patient where appropriate.

The Scripps Encinitas Rehab team can also work with other health care professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists or social workers to help patients and their families adjust to a disability. Therapists also consult with insurance carriers and employers as necessary.