Caring for a relative with traumatic brain injury.
May 13, 2016 3:18 AM   Subscribe

My father in law recently suffered a traumatic brain injury, and is hospitalized. We are trying to learn everything we can to help with care and recovery.

We are in the US, but he is in Korea, which seems to have less experience/resources for traumatic brain injury patients. It has been about a month and he cannot talk or swallow yet. We are looking for any and all resources (books, groups, reputable websites) to learn about care and recovery. Also any information about bringing people to the US for care, and anything to avoid. We anticipate the need for some kind of speech therapy. Finally, any information on the efficacy and use of meditation in helping recover executive functions and stability.
posted by molla to Health & Fitness (3 answers total)
I have no experience with TBI in Korea, but in my state, right now, people with TBI receive services through a Medicaid waiver which includes an array of services.

The lynchpin of those services, according to everybody with a TBI that I have spoken to, is something called service coordination, which is basically where a social worker meets with you, gets to know and understand what you can and can't do and how many spoons you have on a given day or week, and basically is there to help you manage your services and ensure that you are taken care of if you go into crisis. In many cases the same service coordinator will work with the same people for years to ensure continuity of care and maintain the level of trust and harmony that has developed.

Your father in law should find out what the equivalent is, if any, of a service coordinator or social worker, and enroll in whatever program will give him access to such a person. They will know what services are available and can help him qualify for and manage those services.

Good luck to you all.
posted by gauche at 6:14 AM on May 13, 2016

The Brain Injury Association is a good starting point for broader information. Here is their landing page talking about living with a brain injury with links to resources and organizations. Each injury is unique in terms of the severity and also the resilience and other factors that are unique to the person that influence recovery. The most efficacious interventions are intensive rehabilitation including speech/language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, cognitive rehab, etc. Meditation can be a tool for some, but given what you are describing, it will probably be something that is too difficult for your father-in-law right now.

In searching for rehabilitation programs in Korea, I found these folks who did fellowships at the UNC School of Medicine and may be good contacts to help locate rehabilitation services in South Korea

Dongseok Yang, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Ulsan University Hospital, Ulsan, South Korea.
Interests: Brain Rehabiliation, Spine Rehabilitation and Pain Control

Yong-Soon Yoon, MD, PhD
Chairman, Dept. of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Medicine, Presbyterian (Jesus) Medical Center, Jeonju, South Korea; Director of Clinical Trial Center for Medical Devices, Presbyterian (Jesus) Medical Center, Jeonju, South Korea; Associate Professor, Dept. of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Medicine, Seonam Medical University, Namwon, South Korea
Interests: Neurorehabilitation, orthosis and prosthesis, foot and ankle, pediatric rehabilitation

I wish your father in law all the best in his rehabilitation.
posted by goggie at 7:13 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

A member of my family has TBI, and some books that have helped other members of the family are:

This one from Johns Hopkins


This one by Dr. John Cassidy

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to remember that symptoms will come and go. Your loved one can have a bunch of great days in a row, and then suddenly backslide for a few days. It tends to be an overall upwards trend, but there is a lot of back and forth. It can be hard not to feel discouraged, but try to remember that it is an overall upwards trend.

Wishing the best for your father in law, you, and all your family.

I also thought this book was really well done, but it may be hard to read in places, because she does not hold back on her perspective as the mother of a 20ish year old who suffered TBI.
posted by freezer cake at 12:19 PM on May 13, 2016

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