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Long-Term Issues After a Brain Injury

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Recovery from a brain injury is a life-long process.

Family, friends, and the rehabilitation team at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute will play an important role in this process.

Going Back to Work

Returning to work or a volunteer job may help you get back into the community and move forward in the recovery process.

There are things, however, that you and your loved ones need to keep in mind when making plans to go back to work.

Physical changes

  • Fatigue: It's perfectly normal for you to experience extreme fatigue after your brain injury. It may be difficult for you to complete a whole day at work or remain focused on one particular task.
  • Movement and speech issues also may play a role. You may not be able to move or think as fast as before.

It's likely that, in the beginning, you will not be able to accomplish as much in the work day as you did before, or as much as colleagues do now. This is part of recovery and will take time.

Employers and supervisors should be cognizant of these changes.

Behavioral changes

Many people with brain injuries may have problems with their temper and self-awareness, or problems accepting responsibility or criticism.

Self-awareness refers to how a person can judge his or her:

  • Behavior
  • Performance (both job and personal)
  • Abilities

Someone who cannot recognize, or is unaware of, making mistakes may:

  • Create a poor product
  • Do nothing to correct mistakes
  • Complain of being bullied or picked on when asked to correct the mistakes

These sorts of problems may affect your ability to take or keep a job.

Even though you may have lost certain abilities after your brain injury, you may:

  • Not recognize the loss
  • Wish to keep doing things the same way as before the injury
  • Not want to take a different type of job
  • Not be willing to accept lower pay

The rehabilitation team can work with you to help change the expectations of reasonable employment.

Social skills