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Brain Injury: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Etiology and Levels

presented by Anne Leclaire, RN, MSN, CRRN

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Anne Leclaire receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.


 Non-Financial: Anne Leclaire has no competing non-financial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

MedBridge is committed to accessibility for all of our subscribers. If you are in need of a disability-related accommodation, please contact [email protected]. We will process requests for reasonable accommodation and will provide reasonable accommodations where appropriate, in a prompt and efficient manner.

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Brain injuries affect millions of people each year. The effects of these catastrophic injuries vary based on the specific location and severity of damage within the brain. Rehabilitation nurses play an integral role in improving patient outcomes by customizing interventions to address deficits caused by the varied areas of the brain that were damaged. Knowledge of the extent and location of the brain injury will allow the rehabilitation nurse to guide the patient through the rehabilitation process. In this course, participants will learn how brain injuries occur and which mechanisms of injury lead to a diagnosis of brain injury. In addition, the effect of pathophysiology on determining the severity of the brain damage will be reviewed.

Meet Your Instructor

Anne Leclaire, RN, MSN, CRRN

Anne graduated with a Master of Science-Nursing from the University of Phoenix and has worked in the field of rehabilitation nursing for most of her career. She started as a staff nurse in inpatient rehabilitation at Weldon Center for Rehabilitation in Springfield, Massachusetts and then moved to Madison, Wisconsin, at University of Wisconsin Hospitals and…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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Download the learning objectives for Brain Injury: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Etiology and Levels.

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1. Epidemiology and Causes of Brain Injury

Rehabilitation nurses need to understand the epidemiology of brain injuries to identify what factors place individuals at risk and to comprehend the significance of brain injuries on society. Understanding the causes of brain injuries will assist the nurse in identifying the focus of prevention efforts. The epidemiology and causes of brain injury are reviewed.

2. Mechanisms of Brain Injury

No two brain injuries are exactly alike. Understanding the mechanism which caused the brain injury is an important prognostic element. Rehabilitation nurses need to understand how the brain injured person’s functional and rehabilitation potential is linked to this etiology. In this chapter, the mechanisms that cause brain injuries are explored.

3. Pathophysiology of Brain Injury

When a brain injury occurs, the initial insult garners the most attention, yet the effects of the secondary injury can be just as devastating. It is important for rehabilitation nurses to understand and recognize the differences between primary and secondary effects of brain injuries in order to customize appropriate interventions. This chapter will take a closer look at the pathophysiology of primary, secondary, and tertiary brain injuries.

4. Classification of Brain Injury Severity

One of the variables that determine the functional outcome of a person with a brain injury is the severity of the insult to the brain. The focus of rehabilitation nursing interventions for someone with a mild brain injury will be quite different as compared to someone with severe damage to the brain. The characteristics that define the different levels of severity of brain injury are discussed.

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