This month, Bayhealth honors the 1.7 million people who will sustain a traumatic brain injury this year, and the millions of people living with brain injury.
“Brain injury is a life-altering event with major consequences. Patients may need treatment and support throughout their lifetime,” said James D. Mills, MD, Bayhealth neurosurgeon.
In our area, the leading causes of traumatic brain injury are falls (primarily among the elderly), motor vehicle accidents, and sports injuries (primarily among younger patients).
According to Dr. Mills, who serves on the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of Delaware, many brain injuries can be prevented through education and precautions. Caregivers who work with elderly members of the community should evaluate the home to reduce the risk of falls. Eliminate loose rugs or other potential obstacles in walkways, make sure the bathroom provides handrails or other supports, and store necessities within easy reach.
As brain injury in the younger population typically takes the form of concussion, access to early, comprehensive treatment is key for full recovery. Recovery from a concussion may take up to two months.
“The best way to enhance concussion recovery is to rest and limit all activities that may risk further damage,” advised Dr. Mills.
In coordination with the Bayhealth Wellness Centers at Caesar Rodney, Dover, Lake Forest, Milford, Polytech, Smyrna, and Woodbridge High Schools, Dr. Mills uses the ImPACT computerized assessment system to determine athletes’ level of injury and monitor them for return to competition.
Dr. Mills works closely with the staff at Bayhealth Outpatient Rehabilitation Services in Dover and Milford to create a seamless transition for patients from medical stabilization in the hospital to therapy-based treatments. Brain injury patients may require therapy in a variety of areas, including walking and mobility; daily activities such as eating or driving a car; speech and language; plans for future employment or education.
In an effort to bolster brain injury programs, increase access to care, and elicit support for brain injury research, Dr. Mills will travel to Washington, DC, this week to meet with the Congressional Task Force on Brain Injury. Later this month, Dr. Mills plans to visit Peach Tree Acres, an assisted living facility in Harbeson that serves brain-injured adults, as part of their regular speaker series on brain injury and related topics. To learn more about traumatic brain injury or the Bayhealth Neurosurgery team, visit www.bayhealth.org.