When you hear the words “traumatic brain injury,” what do you think of first? Serious head injuries on the battlefield? Head injuries in motor vehicle crashes? Concussions occurring in contact sports such as football? You might even think of Muhammad Ali, a famous boxer who endured repeated blows to his head and developed Parkinson’s disease at the age of forty-two.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls were the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in 2013. In fact, falls accounted for 47% of all traumatic brain injury related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States. According to the CDC report at https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury, “Falls disproportionally affected the youngest and oldest age groups. More than half (54%) of the TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths among children 0 to 14 years were caused by falls. Nearly 4 in 5 (79%) TBI-related ED visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in adults aged 65 and older were caused by falls.”

What is a traumatic brain injury? According to the article called “TBI: Get the Facts” at https://www.cdc.gov//traumaticbraininjury, “A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild” (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss after the injury). Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions.”

You need to be especially careful to prevent your family members from falling. Make some small changes to make the home a safer place. Below are some tips from a Mayo Clinic article called “Fall Prevention: Simple Tips to Prevent Falls” at https://www.mayoclinic.org:

  • Remove loose rugs (throw rugs) from the home.
  • Immediately clean up spilled liquids, grease, or food.
  • Turn on the lights before going up or down stairs.
  • Place nightlights in the bedroom, bathroom, and hallways.
  • Store flashlights in easy-to-find places in case of power outages.

If you have a family member who has suffered a traumatic brain injury and needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to www.ahhc-1.com, or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski