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Social workers may help alleviate the effects of brain injuries

More than a million traumatic brain injuries are treated each year in hospitals and emergency rooms across the country. These injuries can happen for a number of reasons, from a car accident to a work injury to getting hit by falling materials. They can also vary widely in how they affect a person.

While serious brain injuries are easily spotted by health professionals, mild brain injuries are not always as obvious. However, it can be crucial for victims of any type of brain injury to seek help. If even mild brain injuries go undetected and patients are not informed of the typical symptoms and treatments, they can experience symptoms without even realizing why they are happening. 

Symptoms that most people know relate to head injuries include nausea, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and fatigue. Other symptoms that are not as well-known include depression, insomnia, and trouble completing routine tasks. Without understanding why these symptoms may be occurring or how to treat them, victims can continue suffering, both physically and psychologically.

A study recently published in a scientific journal demonstrated that the symptoms and long-term impact of mild traumatic brain injury can be improved when a trained social worker evaluates victims of such accidents and takes the time to educate them on the topic while they are still in the emergency room.

The study revealed that such an evaluation and discussion, lasting only 20 minutes, prevented further functional decline in many patients, as well as reduced alcohol abuse. A second study is currently being conducted to determine whether the results can be replicated.

The study shows that social workers, in addition to doctors and nurses, are an important part of the team needed to fully assist brain injury victims on their way to recovery.

If a brain injury occurs as the result of another’s negligence, an experienced Montana personal injury attorney may also be an important part of that team. Legal support can help victims identify their options for pursuing compensation and navigate the system as successfully as possible.

Source: e! Science News, "Social workers can help patients recover from mild traumatic brain injuries," May 7, 2014

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