Brain Injury: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Etiology and Levels

presented by Anne Leclaire

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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 degree 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, Springfield, Massachusetts and then moved to Madison, Wisconsin at University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics (UW Health). Since then, she has had progressive leadership roles in the acute care rehabilitation unit at UW Health, moving from Care Team Leader to Patient Care Coordinator and Clinical Nurse Manager. Most recently she opened and served as the Chief Clinical Officer for the new UW Health Rehabilitation Hospital. She has taken an active leadership role in improving care for patients by leading change initiatives in her work areas and implementing measures to improve patient care. In addition, she has been an active volunteer and leader in both the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses and the Wisconsin Association for Rehabilitation Nurses where she has given multiple presentations and received the Nurse Manager Role Award. Anne received her BSN in Nursing from University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is a certified rehabilitation registered nurse (CRRN). Anne currently works as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Nursing Quality & Safety for UW Health system hospitals.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Epidemiology and Causes of Brain Injury

    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

    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

    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

    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.