Does Brain Injury Recovery Really Stop After 2 Years?

An often-repeated idea is that when someone is recovering from a brain injury, there is a two-year recovery window following the original injury. The belief goes that, once those initial two years are up, people should not expect to see any significant return of function, physical or mental, above what has already been achieved.

While it is usually true that the first two years are crucial for brain injury recovery in adults, with the most significant improvements tending to happen during this period, it is not true that recovery always stops after this time. The situation is also quite different for children, where brain injury recovery will interplay with the development of the brain during childhood and adolescence.

In fact, many patients will continue to make progress for years after a traumatic brain injury, making recovery a truly lifelong process.

How Brain Injury Recovery Typically Progresses Over Time

While every person’s journey of recovery from a brain injury will vary, the following is intended to provide a general idea of what to expect at different stages of the recovery process for an adult dealing with a brain injury.

Does Brain Injury Recovery Really Stop After 2 Years?

Immediately Following the Injury

What happens during the first hours and days after an injury is usually vital to the long-term prospects for a brain injury survivor. Depending on the circumstances, treatment may include brain surgery, a period in intensive care and various assessments to start building a picture of the impact the injury has had on the patient’s physical and mental functions.

It is normally very hard to make meaningful predictions about the long-term outcome at this point, including what level of recovery the patient may be expected to make.

During the First 6 Months

There may be the need for ongoing medical treatment, as well as trialing different medications to help with specific issues the patient may be experiencing. Some degree of physiotherapy, cognitive therapy, and occupational therapy will normally be used to help the patient start working on recovering any lost or impaired functions.

After the First 6 Months

Various types of therapy are likely to still be going on, normally with patients now living at home or in a residential care facility. The focus is likely to be increasingly on occupational therapy and other types of therapy and care support to help the patient live as independently as possible.

Common types of therapy from brain injury recovery include:

  • Speech and language therapy
  • Vocational therapy
  • Neuro-psychological therapy
  • Counseling to address issues such as depression and anxiety

At this point, doctors will usually have a much clearer idea of what level of recovery the patient can expect to make long-term.

Does Brain Injury Recovery Really Stop After 2 Years?

After the First 2 Years

After the first two years, it should be fairly clear what, if any, ongoing issues a patient is still dealing with as a result of their injury. Therapy may continue if required and, as mentioned above, many patients continue to make meaningful improvements in their capabilities for the rest of their lives.

Brain Injury Recovery in Children

As children’s brains are still developing, knowing the extent to which they will recover from a brain injury and how long this will take can be very difficult to predict. Where the injury occurs at birth, the consequences of the damage may not even become apparent for many years.

Depending on the severity of the brain injury, your child may be able to make a full recovery within a few years with the right treatment and support. However, in cases of more serious brain injury, recovery may be a much longer process that goes on into adulthood and there may be some degree of lasting impact on your child’s life.

Various types of rehabilitation therapy will be used, both in the hospital and on an ongoing basis once your child returns home. This will typically include standard options for brain injury rehabilitation, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech, and language therapy, as well as options tailored towards children, such as play therapy, working with an educational psychologist and music therapy.

Funding Lifelong Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Support

If you or a loved one have experienced a brain injury due to medical negligence, recovering often requires extensive rehabilitation services and various other types of ongoing treatment, care and support. Unfortunately, the NHS is usually unable to meet all of the long-term therapy needs of brain injury survivors, so private funding is often required to ensure you or your loved one have all the help and support necessary to make the best possible recovery.

Brain injury patients also often need to take time off work or give up work entirely, potentially costing them a lot in lost income and damage to their career.

If a brain injury you or a loved one experienced was due to medical negligence or an injury where someone else was at fault, you may be able to claim compensation to help you meet the costs of funding brain injury rehabilitation.

IBB Claims are a leading firm of specialist brain injury lawyers who can guide you through the entire process of making a claim with their no win, no fee brain injury claims service, making it as simple and stress-free as possible to fund your recovery.

Does Brain Injury Recovery Really Stop After 2 Years?

Do you know someone who has been through the brain injury recovery process? How did their recovery go?