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Long term care needs for brain injury patients critical

When a person is subjected to a brain injury, there is a potential need for intensive and long term care. While it is not always possible to obtain an accurate prognosis for recovery in regard to brain injuries, the needs of these types of patients differ from other forms of bodily injury. A recently released report indicates that many who face a severe brain injury will end up in long term care facilities in Texas and elsewhere, and that these arrangements are not always optimal for the patient.

Data compiled from national Medicare and Medicaid statistics show that as many as 244,000 people with brain injuries are eventually placed in nursing homes. While the living conditions among these facilities vary, the institutions are usually set up and designed to care for the elderly. Often, they lack the resources or trained professionals required to care for brain injured residents.

Compounding the problem is the fact that most Americans are not insured in a way that would cover long term care related to a brain injury. Medicaid will step in and cover the cost of care at a nursing home, but there is no mandate that requires care within a specialized brain-injury rehabilitation center, which is the best course of care fir these types of injuries. In addition, there are only approximately 19,000 slots available for Medicare-funded nursing home placements, leading to a long waiting list for applicants. That wait can exceed five years in some states.

When an individual or loved one in Texas is subjected to a brain injury, and the injury was due to negligence on the part of another party, it is important to move forward with a full understanding of all available legal options. A personal injury lawsuit may help the victim and his or her family secure the funds necessary to provide a high standard of care for the patient. The decisions made in the timeframe shortly after the incident that brought on the injury will have lifelong repercussions, and moving forward with proper legal guidance can make a huge difference in that individual's standard of care for the rest of their life.

Source: Bloomburg Businessweek, "Brain-Injured in Nursing Homes Without Care Giffords Had," David Armstrong, Dec. 28, 2012

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