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may be evident, but typically don’t interfere with daily life.

As patients improve after brain injury, they typically will move from one level to the next. However, it is common for an individual to exhibit symptoms in more than one level at one time. There is no set time period for remaining at one level or another—each individual will progress differently.


Depending upon the severity and location of the brain injury, the patient may spend time in any of several types of care units, undergo several forms of diagnosis and treatment, and receive various kinds of long-term or follow-up care. Following the initial visit to the emergency room, most patients will undergo extensive care in the hospital, followed by treatment in a skilled nursing facility, nursing home, or in the patient’s own home. Many types of equipment and procedures will be used at each stage of recovery, and the length of recovery will vary.

The Hospital Stay

A patient with moderate to severe brain injury can expect to spend several weeks or even months in the hospital. There are two main units in the hospital that provide comprehensive care for the brain-injury patient: the intensive care unit and acute care. The medical team in each unit will use several tests to evaluate, monitor and treat the patient.

Types of Care

Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This is an inpatient unit where patients with moderate to severe injuries are taken following the emergency room. The goals of the ICU are to stabilize the patient, manage his care, and prevent medical crises.

Acute Hospital Care. Once a patient is stabilized, he may be transferred to a regular hospital unit. Acute care is also inpatient and still provides essential care for the patient’s well-being. The patient may receive care and treatment


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