A Diverse Health Team
Most people are not aware of the many types of health care specialties that may be needed to diagnose and treat brain injuries during the different stages of recovery. Additionally, many people are not aware that there is a medical subspecialty in brain injury medicine designed to help identify physicians who can provide more advanced care within the areas of psychiatry, neurology, and physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Below is a general list and description for many of the health care providers commonly involved with treating brain injuries:
- Behavioral neurologist – A physician who works within a subspecialty of neurology. This field of medicine deals with disorders involving behavior and neuroscience (brain function). This field is a bridge between the areas of neurology, psychiatry and neuropsychology.
- Cognitive rehabilitation therapist (CRT) – A therapist who helps patients retain, regain or train cognitive function that has been impaired.
- Neurologist – A physician who treats diseases of the nervous system including the brain and spinal cord.
- Neuropsychiatrist – A physician who works within a subspecialty of psychiatry and sometimes neurology. He treats disorders involving human behavior and neuroscience (brain function). This field is a bridge between the disciplines of neurology, psychiatry and neuropsychology.
- Neuropsychologist (PhD) – A specialist trained in treating the psychological, behavioral and cognitive impact of a brain injury.
- Neurosurgeon – A physician who works in the surgery specialty that deals with the nervous system including the brain and spinal cord.
- Occupational therapist (OT) – A therapist trained in helping patients retain, improve or regain activities of everyday daily living such as eating, bathing, grooming, dressing and ambulating; as well as other higher level skills needed to return to home and work.
- Ophthalmologist – A physician who treats diseases of the eye.
- Otolaryngologist – A physician who treats ear, nose and throat problems.
- Pain Management Physician – A physician who diagnoses the cause of pain and treats it.
- Physiatrist (Physical medicine and rehabilitation) – A physician who deals with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease or injury, and rehabilitation from impairments and disabilities. They often coordinate the rehabilitation process among various health care professionals.
- Physical therapist (PT) – A therapist who helps you improve your physical function and mobility. The PT helps you with therapeutic exercises and re-education of your muscles and nerves with the goal of restoring normal function.
- Psychiatrist – A physician who deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental and emotional disorders.
- Psychologist – A specialist who assesses and treats problems you may have with thinking, memory, mood and behavior. They may also provide counseling and education to your family members to ensure they have an understanding of the treatment plan and possible outcomes.
- Speech-language pathologist (Speech therapist) – Specialist trained in helping someone recover from speech, language and cognitive issues.
- Vocational rehabilitation counselor – Specialist trained in assisting someone to return to work, school or other vocational activities.