SAC Profile: Dr. Amine Choukou & The Active at Home Post-Stroke Program

Profile picture of Amine ChoukouOur Scientific Advisory Committee is comprised of professionals in the research and medical practice sectors that work to support the brain injury community. One such individual is Dr. Amine Choukou.

Dr. Choukou’s research focuses on delivering telerehabilitation services to people with chronic stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis who live in the community. Innovative technology fills in many gaps in the current practice and promises a better access to care for all, regardless of their geographic location. Receiving rehabilitation care at home is at the utmost of the needs of people living in rural and remote communities who want their physical or cognitive skills recovered or improved. Ultimately, these technologies are intended to help these individuals live independently with dignity.

“I dedicate a considerable portion of my research career to brain injury because I see people leave institutions without their needs being met, and I believe that home telerehabilitation is a smart approach to bridge that gap, while promoting autonomy and independence.”

Dr. Choukou’s efforts in telerehabilitation is demonstrated in an on-going project that is as of May 2022 in the test phase.

Active at Home Post-Stroke Program (Home PSP) is designed to provide stroke survivors with comprehensive physical and cognitive rehabilitation. The program provides semi-supervised at-home telerehabilitation to patients living in rural, remote and underserved areas who could not access rehabilitation services otherwise. The importance of remote health technology has become even more clear in light of recent COVID-19 restrictions; telerehabilitation has never been more relevant.

Home PSP delivers telerehabilitation via three easy-to-use technologies shipped to the patient’s home:

  • A mobile app
  • A virtual reality (VR) system
  • iManus

The interactive mobile app provides guided physical rehabilitation through an Android tablet. A virtual coach delivers an exercise program that includes resistance training, balance training, and stretching.

A simulated VR environment provides physical and cognitive training activities for patients to complete. With VR training, the patient benefits from continuous and safe practice, at their own pace and in the comfort of their home. The patient begins by performing simple domestic activities, and advances up to unexpected and complex situations.

iManus (www.theimanus.ca) is a patented technology developed under a partnership between the University of Manitoba and Tactile Robotics Ltd. iManus consists of a pair of sensorized gloves and therapeutic equipment for manual dexterity training. A mobile app interface collects data from the gloves and connects the patient to a therapist.

The goal of Home PSP is to help patients regain their physical and cognitive abilities following a stroke. The activities resemble scenarios we encounter during daily life, and the therapeutic content has been validated by therapists. The needs of stroke survivors vary widely, and Home PSP is designed with this variety in mind. A therapist offers personalized guidance at a distance based on data collected with the different technologies that make Home PSP. The program is underway in Manitoba, and contents can be adapted for patients with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries.

For some, at-home telerehabilitation allows them to receive structured therapy that they would not otherwise be able to receive. Many people will benefit from this program, which reduces family burden by limiting travel and indirect care costs.

Julianne Heagy

julianne heagyIt’s Tuesday, May 21, 2019. As I start to wake already my mind reminds me that this is the Tuesday after the long weekend and my desk has already so many things I need to do to get caught up. I also wake knowing that this is our 31st wedding anniversary and the day of our daughter Justine’s first part of a two-part pharmacy licensing exam.

[Praying] “Lord, thank you for putting Blair in my life. Thank you for 31 years of ups and downs and mostly that we were able to take every challenge and every victory to you in prayer. I especially pray for Justine this morning and ask that You give her peace. Lord, please easily bring the answers to the exam questions to her mind. I also ask that you keep Jared safe at work today. In Jesus name I pray. Amen”  As my prayer ends I hear the roar of our son Jared’s car arriving to town and off to work. I silently say good morning and wish him a good day.

As I get up and get dressed I move quietly around the condo. Blair was diagnosed with lung cancer six years ago and sleeps until 9:30 most mornings. He is currently stage IV but doing remarkably well. He has an amazingly positive attitude.

In my position as Member Relations officer at our local Co-op head office, this is the time of year when we’re winding down from two major events, doing scholarship presentations, lots of donation requests for summer events and negotiating advertising with our new local radio station. It’s always busy on my desk but I thrive on having several balls in the air all at once. So much still to do so feeling like I’d better eat lunch at my desk so I can leave at 5:00 for our anniversary supper. Deli salad from downstairs fits the bill.

At some point during the morning I wonder how Justine’s exam has gone and send up another quick prayer.

1:39pm  text from Justine. “It’s done. That’s all I can say. Gonna go nap”

It really has been a long day. My eye’s are starting to bother me. Like gold squares of light are in my field of vision.

5:19pm Just not feeling great so thought I’d text Justine to bring her dad to the Co-op so he could drive my car home. I text Justine “Can you come to get me around with dad on 5:30. I’m very to delay.”

Justine, “Okay. Are you okay?”

Me, “Not sure”

I know that Blair and Justine are heading my way shortly, so I decide I’m going to contact the groups with the donation requests I’ve approved. The first one is a donation of gift cards, but I can’t think of the words “gift cards” to write on the donation request form. Man, it’s been a long day. I’ll come back to this. (I looked at this particular file after many months and see I wrote five random letters where I would normally note what I had donated and the date). The next donation is a donation of beef. I decide it’s easier to call the group, so I dial. Someone answers. I comment, “Hi, this is” and then I can’t think of the next word. I feel like I’m in a big dark, empty room and I can’t find anything—not a word, not a thought, not an idea, just total blankness. I hear the person on the other end say, “from the Co-op?”

“Uhm” I’m so embarrassed with my response. What a terrible representation of our Co-op.

“About our donation request?”

“Uhm”

“Will you donate the beef?”

“Uhm”

“Thanks!”

The whole time I was so embarrassed, wanting to hang up but thinking that would be even more rude than just responding with a mumble. I want to cry! I look up and Blair is just entering the admin office on his way to my office. I’m feeling very off balance and am already thinking that it will be hard to walk down the stairs to the main floor and out to the parking lot.

The ladies at the admin desks wish us a happy anniversary and tell us to have a good supper. I smile and nod, even offer a small wave as we leave. I know I need Blair’s support to get me down the stairs. Justine is waiting outside in the car and they take me directly to the hospital. If I could speak, I would just ask them to take me home to sleep. I just don’t feel well and am tired.

I’m so glad to be able to lay down on the ER bed at our local hospital. There is busy-ness around me and I.Vs going into both my arms. Having worked at our local hospital off and on for over 20 years I know most of the nursing staff. I see concern in their eyes. They asked me my name but I couldn’t find it in my mind. I would get a quick glimpse of it but then it was gone. Then when I got a hold of it I couldn’t make my mouth work. I couldn’t speak my name. I concentrated with all the effort I could muster and then it exploded out of me. My name, “Julianne”. That was exhausting! I just want to rest now. There is no thought in my head, no fear, no questions just a desire to rest in the quiet emptiness.

Our family doctor arrives and there is more commotion. They keep asking me my name. I hear someone say blood pressure is 215/90.

It seems that the ambulance has arrived, but I feel like I’ve just gotten here.

The normal 60-minute drive to Moose Jaw took only 40 minutes.

There is another swirl of activity as blood is drawn and I’m rushed for a CT scan.

The scan indicates it’s not a brain hemorrhage, so I’m cleared to receive the ATP, clot-buster, treatment.

I must have napped on and off because all I remember is the nurses telling Blair and Justine that I’m to stay in bed for 48 hours as I am now a high bleed risk following the ATP.

The CT scan also showed that I have a greater than 70% occlusion of my left carotid artery. The attending physician explains to us that I have been referred to a surgeon in Regina for a left Endarterectomy where they will open my neck up, open up the left carotid artery, clean it out and then put a patch on the carotid before closing me up again.

I received the surgery and was sent home a few days later.

It’s now 19 months since my stroke and I’ve learned so much.

A few resources that I’ve found very helpful are the “Let’s Talk About Stroke – An information guide for survivors and their families” published by Heart & Stroke Foundation and “Returning to work following an acquired brain injury” handbook which I found online from Brain Injury Canada.

As a retired Registered Massage Therapist I had access to many modalities of treatments. Some of which I was very aware of, and some new treatments offered to me by fellow therapists. Of the therapies I received; reiki, sound therapy, massage, yoga, reflexology, etc.; the most valuable treatment that helped relieve my anxiety was emotional reflexology from a therapist in Regina. I’d highly recommend it.

Speaking of anxiety, one of the greatest tips from my occupational therapist was to find something such as putting together picture puzzles or take up some stitching or other handwork as my eyes allowed it. Doing this keeps your mind in the present. Focusing on your project means you spend less time worrying about the future. It works!!

One of my greatest frustrations is my inability to read for more than about 20 minutes. I’m an avid reader. I’ve always had an affinity for learning. It probably took me about a year to discover how easy it was to access audio books. I use the Libby app. I also listen to podcasts that uplift and motivate me.

Being in large groups or in stores makes my head spin. I feel very off balance. Sometimes so severely I even feel that I’m going to lose bowel control. If there is something good that’s come of Covid, for me, it is that I can guilt-free order my groceries online for home delivery. Another trick I’ve learned is that if I need only one thing in a store, I call ahead to see if it’s available. If it is, I will ask if they have time to set it at the till and I give them my estimated time of arrival. If they don’t have time, I ask for the aisle number where the item is located so I can quickly get in and out.

Stay home, stay safe was part of my internal dialogue even before Covid. Especially early after my stroke when my balance was an issue. I used to be very independent and travelled a fair bit both for pleasure and business. In the past 19 months I’ve driven alone only in our small town or a few times to our daughter’s house 15 minutes away. I find that the ditches move quicker than the road and I experience extreme fatigue after just a short drive.

Financially, we’ve had to jump some hoops to receive some help. Insurance training is in my background so it should’ve been much easier but the mental process of applying was exhausting. Some tips I have here…if you have life insurance policies, check for waiver of premium coverage; if you have critical illness insurance coverage, you may have to prove cognitive impairment residuals lasting more than 30 days so check with your occupational therapist to give you a cognitive assessment; if you are applying for CPP disability, know that the processing takes a very long time (for me 7 months to approval and 8 months before payments started).

Don’t give up! It’s hard and frustrating. I know some days this will feel like a stretch but find something to be grateful for every day – some days you’ll have to fake it until you make it but you will make it.

Accept help. This one is tough for most of us. Especially when we’ve enjoyed independence. Know that your caregiver(s) want the best for you. For me, I seem to have lost some of my filters and say things that I wouldn’t have in the past. Sometimes this makes me embarrassed and sometimes it actually feels empowering. I’ve come to accept that “it is what it is”. Try to remember that your closest caregiver is likely receiving the brunt of your comments and frustrations. Take the time to let them know you’re sorry and how much you appreciate them.

Give yourself permission to evolve into the new you. Oh, how I pushed myself to try to get back to work. Back to the old me. I’d push through headaches and visual disturbances just to be able to stay on the computer and try to keep my mind from going to mush. By about five months after my stroke, I had to take my computer and put it in a box so I wouldn’t use it. My therapists and councilors all told me to rest and let my brain heal. I actually felt like I was resting because I was no longer working my three-quarter time job, casual work at the hospital and my home business. I was determined to read because I was too stubborn to believe I could be happy without it. I see now how much I was taxing my brain out of fear that if I didn’t keep it busy and stimulated, I’d lose it. I can tell you now, things will change, you will have changed and you will find peace and joy again.

Thank you, Brain Injury Canada, for giving me this opportunity to share parts of my journey. I sincerely hope it will be helpful to others.

Tim Kerr

Tim-KerrNaval commander Tim Kerr didn’t know anything about brain injury or stroke before he suffered his own in 2012.

“It happened out of the blue while I was at sea,” Tim says. At the time, Tim was a captain of a destroyer stationed off the west coast of America. “I was exercising on an elliptical: next thing I knew I was in a hospital.”

What happened between the elliptical and waking up in the hospital was filled in for Tim by crew members and doctors. “The crew said they found me seizing on the floor: luckily we had a medical professional on board who followed stroke protocol. They evacuated me to another ship nearby with a physician, who then ordered my evacuation to a hospital in San Diego.”

The first few days

“I remember waking up and feeling surprised, fearful, and confused,” Tim remembers. “My initial concern was ‘I have to get back to my ship’. I had a lot of questions.”

It took some time for doctors to confirm why Tim had had a stroke – he was a healthy man in his 40’s when it happened. But after several tests, including MRIs, they had their diagnosis. I had a hemorrhagic stroke in the right parietal [section of the brain] which affected the left side of my body,” Tim explains. This left him with paralysis in the left side of his body and mild issues with his memory.

“I remember thinking ‘I had a stroke. I’m disabled. Is this going to be my state? Am I going to recover?’” Tim recalls. “In early recovery, I was extremely emotional – I couldn’t control them. [I felt] anger at the situation, uncertainty, fear, and sadness.”

A lot of that uncertainty resolved into determination. “Family was a motivator: I was determined to recover as best as I could,” Tim says. He had young kids, and he was determined to do as much with them as possible.

Going through rehabilitation

Tim’s determination started in the hospital. Before he started rehabilitation, he tried to use his right side to manage his left-side deficit. “One example is that I would drag myself to the bathroom with the help of my wife or using other supports in the room with my right side trying to compensate for my left.”

“It didn’t really hit me until I arrived at the Élisabeth Bruyère rehab centre [in Ottawa] how disabled I was. I was in a wheelchair, and they showed me my room. Then they took me to the dining room with all the other stroke survivors. I was leaning because of my left-side deficit. One of the volunteers there tried to begin the process of feeding me.”

The action really shocked Tim. “I thought “is this how I’m going to be for the rest of my life?”” It was difficult for him to come to terms with all the changes he had faced, and would continue to face as he recovered.

After a week of assessment, Tim’s rehabilitation program began. It was a mix of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and cognitive therapy. “In the first stage I worked on my core, exercises to rewire my brain to support my core and help me sit upright. We spent a month on this stage.”

“In the second stage I did arm and leg exercises. It was a very robust physio program. In the third stage, once my left arm started to improve, I went to occupational therapy to work on fine motor skills.”

Tim was motivated. “I had an end goal in mind the entire time: be mobile enough to play with my kids.” But in his first 6 weeks, Tim says he didn’t see a lot of improvement and was discouraged. While it helped to have that big end goal, Tim admits that focus on such a big goal made it difficult to see results. “Setting daily, weekly goals helped me see progress. It wasn’t until I implemented those small goals that I started to see results,” he says.

Tim spent a total of three and a half months at Élisabeth Bruyère and was able to walk out using a walker. He continued outpatient rehab and progressed to using a cane and then after a number of months was able to walk unaided. He attributes part of his success in rehabilitation to his age, his military background, and his past experiences.

“This was not my first time in rehabilitation,” Tim says. “In 2009 (3 years before the stroke), I was in the United Kingdom (UK) doing training. I was in an armoured vehicle accident and my right femur went through my right hip. I joined a complex trauma group in the UK during my long period of rehabilitation. I walked in on crutches. Everyone else was a Royal Marine wounded in action – many were missing limbs. I did rehab alongside them, and they were an incredible group of people.”

This experience showed Tim the importance of being determined and having support when in rehabilitation. It’s what helped him after his stroke.

“I had so much support at Élisabeth Bruyère. I love the staff. I also recognize I had a rare level of support from the military, family and friends.”

Along with his wife and kids, Tim had frequent visits from his parents. “They advocated for me, pushed for me,” Tim says. “My dad motivated me, and he helped me. He would even give me baths – now that’s something I never thought I would need him to do again.”

Once Tim was discharged from Élisabeth Bruyère, he continued as an outpatient. “I’m very happy with my recovery. I’m kind of amazed at my recovery, looking back,” Tim says. “I’ve recovered about 95% of my mobility. I use precaution and walking poles for long walks, and cleats/spikes in the winter. I stay healthy with safe exercise. And now I actually volunteer at Élisabeth Bruyère.”

While Tim recognizes that not everyone will recover to the extent that he has, he does believe that support and motivation play an important role for everyone. “People lose a lot of motivation and miss opportunities for improvement because they don’t have external support. Ideally everyone would have someone – an advocate, a case manager during rehabilitation who would provide that external help.” As a volunteer, Tim tries to lend his personal experiences and determination to others, providing some of that motivation himself.

Returning to work

At the time of his stroke, Tim was a naval commander finishing his time at sea. During his initial recovery, he was placed on medical leave.

“The military had a robust mechanism for a plan to return to work. I worked with a military case manager,” Tim explains. “I started a couple half days a week about 9 months after the stroke. My employers and I slowly added half days over several months. I was full-time 14 months after the stroke.”

Tim still experiences fatigue and takes anti-seizure medications. After 3 years he received a medical release from the Canadian armed forces, and now works in public service in Veterans Affairs.

Every day is a starting point

When asked what he wanted others to take away from his story, Tim had a simple answer. “No matter what happens to you, you can always move forward,” he says. “What’s important is to do the work, set goals, try to find someone to accompany you on your journey. Always believe you can recover to some degree. I took that lesson into my stroke recovery.”

“Every day is a starting point. You owe it to yourself to make your life as good as it can be.”

Tips for coping with stroke

Use assistive devices

Assistive devices are meant to make rehabilitation and daily tasks easier. These devices could be:

  • Walking poles
  • Walkers
  • Canes
  • Wheelchairs
  • Software applications on computers or phones
  • Smart technology
  • Hand bars in the bathrooms
  • Railings

Arrange your environment

After a stroke and subsequent brain injury, your home environment may not be set up for you to act independently (at least at first). This can be hard on self-esteem and mean that you rely on caregivers for more things. Following an occupational therapist’s suggestions or advice on minor home environment adjustments can create a safe, practical living space that lets you be as independent as possible. Labelling drawers, getting special adaptive tools, or adding safety railings are all examples of home environment improvements that could be helpful.

Be patient

Stroke and brain injury rehabilitation will take a lot of time and commitment. You won’t see progress right away, and it’s easy to get discouraged. But by working with the rehabilitation therapists, breaking down big goals, and with time you will move forward.

Focus on one task at a time

Multitasking requires a lot of focus, and it can be overwhelming – particularly if you’re struggling with attention at this time. When you try to do too many things at once, something could be missed or done incorrectly. By focusing on one task at a time, you ensure that you are completing that task safely and correctly. This is much more effective, particularly if the task is a rehabilitation exercise.

Get appropriate rest

Stroke and brain injury recovery requires a lot of energy. This energy often fades as the day goes on. It’s easy to get fatigued. By taking breaks and devoting some time to creating a good sleep routine, you can make sure you’re well-rested for the day.

Keep schedules and lists

Schedules and lists help keep you organized and track appointments. A schedule or list can also reduce stress because you won’t be worried about forgetting something. You can also use journaling as a useful way to track your progress, activities, and feelings.

Take care of your mental health

Mental health is an essential part of overall well-being, and an important aspect of brain injury recovery. It is a difficult, emotional and mentally stressful process, and there is a risk that you may experience anxiety, anger, or depression.

Plan for the long-term

After a stroke and brain injury, you may need help to complete activities of daily living (ADLs). It’s important to make plans for the long-term. You could have a caregiver, a personal support worker, move into short-term care or find a long-term care home. There are several options you can choose, and several factors you should take into consideration to make the decision.

Exercise and nutrition

Proper exercise and nutrition are important parts of health. After a stroke, you may have specific restrictions on what you can do and eat. Working with a dietitian and physical therapists will ensure you are getting the right nutrients and exercising safely.

For more focused tips on stroke and brain injury recovery, check out the Heart and Stroke Foundation website

Stroke

Stroke is a brain injury caused when blood flow is to the brain is suddenly interrupted due to a clot or a ruptured blood vessel. The interrupted blood flow causes damage to the brain. Stroke can happen at any age and may result in the loss of the ability to move, to communicate, to process information, to swallow, to cope with stress, and more. Its after-effects often include extreme fatigue, depression, anxiety, deficits with memory, attention and vision, and the inability to sense self-movement and body position. Deficits depend on where and how much damage has occurred in the brain.

That is why, at the first signs of stroke (listed below), it is essential to call 9-1-1 and seek immediate medical attention to limit or, in some cases, reverse damage.

Topics in this section include:


Types of stroke leading to brain injury

About 85 per cent of strokes are ischemic, caused by a clot that blocks blood flow to the brain, and the remainder are hemorrhagic, caused when a weakened blood vessel bursts. A brain scan at the hospital will quickly determine the type and location of the stroke and the emergency treatment required.

Both kinds of stroke have similar symptoms, including drooping face, slurred speech, weakness, numbness, dizziness, confusion, and sudden severe headache. (See FAST, below)

Acute treatments are different, depending on the type and location of the stroke, which is why calling 9-1-1 and seeking immediate medical attention is critical. For both types of strokes, the patient will have a rehabilitation and treatment plan to follow when they leave the hospital.

People can also have a fleeting stroke called a Transient Ischemic Attack, or TIA. It is sometimes called a mini-stroke. TIA symptoms may only last for a few minutes, and usually less than a hour, and normally result in no lasting injury to the brain. However, a TIA is a warning sign that a more serious stroke may occur soon and medical care is required right away by calling 9-1-1.

Identifying a stroke using FAST

The key to minimizing the damage a stroke can do to the brain is getting medical attention as quickly as possible. The Heart and Stroke Foundation advocates using the FAST method to identify strokes in others (or in some cases, yourself). FAST stands for Face, Arms, Speech, and Time.

  • Face – is it drooping?
  • Arms – can both be raised?
  • Speech – is it slurred
  • Time – call 9-1-1 immediately

These are the main symptoms of stroke. Additional symptoms can include confusion, loss of consciousness, sudden and severe headaches, and nausea/vomiting.

Effects of stroke

A stroke causes damage to the brain, which can result in a variety of physical, emotional and cognitive effects that change the ability to move, communicate and process information. These effects can include:

  • Attention and memory deficits
  • Balance challenges
  • Bowel and bladder problems
  • Emotional challenges, like depression
  • Low energy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Paralysis – this can be localized (face, arm, or leg)
    • Hemiplegia (paralysis on one side of the body)
    • Quadriplegia (paralysis of all four limbs and trunk)
  • Sensation changes
  • Speech problems
  • Swallowing problems (dysphagia) 
  • Vision problems

These changes can make it difficult to prepare food, drive, work, or complete leisure activities.

Stroke and brain injury rehabilitation

In the first few days, doctors will be trying to stabilize you and make a medical diagnosis. Then recovery begins. The first stages of recovery can take different lengths of time for different people. You may feel tired and experience weakness. The medical team will work with you until you’re able to move to rehabilitation and be discharged from the acute care or stroke ward of the hospital.

Rehabilitation will vary depending on your needs, but the goals remain the same: to recover or adapt your abilities as best as possible. It will include physical, mental and cognitive exercises. It may also include working with a speech language pathologist (SLP) on speaking and swallowing. Occupational therapists (OT) can help with activities of daily living (ADLs), motor skills and home environments, and physical therapists (PT) can assist with muscle strengthening and range of motion (ROM) exercises. Rehabilitation takes a lot of time, practice and patience but it will help you regain independence by relearning or adapting your abilities.

Risk factors for a stroke

There are several lifestyle and conditional factors that can increase a person’s risk of stroke.

Lifestyle changes can improve your overall health while reducing risk of stroke. Conditional factors such as blood pressure and diabetes can be addressed with doctors, medications, and in some cases lifestyle adjustments.

Resources & Research


See sources

Non-Traumatic Brain Injury (nTBI)

An acquired brain injury (ABI) refers to any damage to the brain that occurs after birth and is not related to a congenital or a degenerative disease. There are two types of acquired brain injury: non-traumatic and traumatic.

Topics in this section include:


Non-traumatic brain injury

Non-traumatic acquired brain injuries are caused by something that happens inside the body, or a substance introduced into the body that damages brain tissues.

This includes:

A video on acquired brain injury

Acquired brain injury affects every part of a person’s life. This includes changes to your independence, abilities, work, and relationships with family, friends, and caregivers. Since a brain injury differs from person to person and recovery depends on several factors, in many cases it’s difficult to know what long-term behavioural, cognitive, physical or emotional effects there will be.

The effects of brain injury can be put in the following categories [1]:

Behavioural changes: The way a person acts or makes decisions can change after a brain injury. Behavioural changes include engaging in risky or impulsive behaviour, having difficulty with social and work relationships and isolation. This can be stressful and depending on the behaviour can cause safety concerns. Rehabilitation and medical teams will be able to provide practical tips for behaviour after a brain injury.

Cognitive changes: This is how the brain learns, processes information, forms memories and makes decisions. Challenges include communication, concentration, reading/writing, making decisions, and remembering things.

Emotional changes: after a brain injury, a person may experience new or different emotions, including depression, anxiety, and/or anger. Emotional changes are difficult to adjust to, and it’s important to have a support system of family, friends, and medical professionals.

Physical changes: In some cases, a brain injury will have physical effects. These effects include mobility challenges, headaches, fatigue, pain and sensory changes.

Is a concussion a brain injury?

A concussion is an acquired brain injury. Anyone who sustains a concussion can experience many of the physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioural effects that accompany acquired brain injuries.

Concussion is also known as mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) that has no neuroimaging findings. The term mild does not diminish the impacts that concussion can have on your health and activities of daily living (ADLs).

The challenges of prognosis

Prognosis means the likely path a disease or injury will take. In the case of acquired brain injury, prognosis is meant to give a best estimate of effects and recovery. Acquired brain injuries are all different, and there are a lot of factors that will impact a prognosis of recovery.

Factors that affect prognosis include:

  • Severity of injury
  • Previous injuries and existing conditions
  • Access to treatment
  • Age
  • Location of injury

Research shows that there is no system or set of variables that can accurately predict outcome for a single patient [2]. There is no definite timeline for recovery – it’s different for everyone. Doctors will update their prognosis as recovery progresses and provide next steps at the same time.

This section of our website covers the kinds of changes you may experience, management tips, and information on the kinds of tools and services that can help you and your family navigate living with brain injury.

Resources


See sources