“Where can I find the best rehabilitation program in the country?” is a very common question, one that families of those recovering from injury often ask — and it is easy to understand why. If there was a place, anywhere in the world, that would help our loved one get “back to normal”, who would not want to give it a try?
The problem with seeking the “best” facility or physician is, “best” has no real definition. What we must understand is that every injured person will have different needs, and our search should, instead, be focused on finding the right professionals for their needs. Every patient is different, and while someone might benefit from more physical rehabilitation, another patient might need more help relearning social cues and appropriate behaviors.
So, what can you do to help your loved one find the right team for their rehabilitation?
The Brain Injury Association Of America offers information for families and friends of brain injury victims. In their guide to selecting and evaluating rehabilitation services (.pdf), they include some helpful tips:
- The patient and their family know best. You know the needs of your loved one, and you can decide what aspects of their care are important.
- Be involved. Stay in constant communication with the staff at the facility, and be a part of the decision-making process.
- Make sure everything you agree upon with the staff is put in writing, and keep all records up to date.
- Shop around! The first — or even fanciest — facility that you find might not always be the right one. Listen to the patient’s opinion, too.
Deciding who to entrust with your loved one’s rehabilitation is a very important decision. With the right professionals, the injured person will feel at ease and taken care of — and, when their needs are met, the success of rehabilitation increases, improving the patient’s life after injury.