How A Brain Injury Can Be Treated With Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy

a doctor holding an mri result of the brain

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, knowing what kind of cognitive rehabilitation therapy is out there can mean the difference between full or partial recovery.


by Troop Atomic Mommy

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When a loved one suffers a brain injury, emotional trauma for all family members, sets in. This kind of trauma often leads to the inability to think clearly, to know what next steps are needed, and what treatments are best for the injured. In this article, we will discuss the different cognitive rehabilitation therapies available, as they could bring an injured person some relief.

After a brain injury, a series of therapies referred to as cognitive rehabilitation therapy (CRT) work to recover cognitive function. CRT–as it is often referred to–comes in a wide variety of forms, including rehabilitation for dementia.

What is Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy?

CRT refers to treatments that medical experts may apply to help patients with brain trauma (TBI), strokes, and other medical conditions, to regain and enhance cognitive function.

Any form of therapy that aims to restore cognitive function qualifies as CRT. CRT is not a single, universal strategy in this sense. Psychotherapists, speech therapists (SLPs), physiotherapists, neurocognitive specialists, and occupational therapists are just a few healthcare providers who may employ this kind of treatment.

There are two distinct methods of CRT: Restorative and Compensatory, and in this article, we will discuss in-depth information about CRT, including how it functions, several varieties, and potential patients. We will also examine how brain injuries are identified and what the future holds for CRT patients.

Compensatory CRT

Compensatory CRT helps a person work around their injury. This method can be both temporary and long-term. It can employ the use of assistance technology to help the injured hone new abilities. Compensatory CRT may be a long-term solution if a person’s functioning cannot be entirely restored. In the case of dementia, rehabilitation for dementia can help a lot. Some methods include utilizing calendars and memory aids for those who struggle with executive functioning; assistive speech aids for those with speech impairments; alarms to get someone’s attention when necessary.

Restorative CRT

Medical experts use restorative CRT to enhance or restore cognitive capabilities that a patient has either impaired or still finds difficult. For instance, someone may go through training to increase their attention span or take progressively challenging memory exams to strengthen their memory.

A person can practice skills so they can get better with the use of restorative CRT. It expands on neuroplasticity, which contends that practice may alter the brain. As a result, the brain may form new connections to get around damage or get stronger by frequent usage of the same connections.

Workings of Cognitive Rehabilitation Treatment

Any therapy that medical practitioners have developed to improve a patient’s quality of life after brain damage is called CRT. It is important to note that CRT cannot be approached in a singular way. Instead, it frequently entails a team effort amongst several specialists to create a thorough plan to maximize operation. 

In certain situations, the objective is to assist the brain in healing itself by rewiring it or restoring it to normal function.

For instance, a physical therapist can assist a patient in practicing difficult motions so their head can better learn to integrate these movements, or an SLP may help a patient practice pronouncing previously recognized phrases.

Evaluation and Diagnosis

  • Identifying head injuries can be challenging when the injury’s source is unclear. 
  • A doctor may advise cognitive tests, brain imaging scans, and even blood work to rule out other explanations. But frequently, the root of the issue is clear, like when a person experiences cognitive problems after having an accident or a stroke.
  • The patient’s treatment team may conduct regular examinations, such as cognition testing, to gauge the success of CRT.

Every element of a person’s everyday functioning, from speech to employment, can be impacted by brain diseases and accidents. Rehabilitation for dementia offers a thorough strategy that tailors treatment to a person’s unique requirements and objectives. And if these methods are employed early enough in a person’s diagnosis, it can positively impact the rate of healing.


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