Neurotrauma describes two complex conditions: acquired brain injury (ABI) and spinal cord injury (SCI). Both are life-changing and lead to significant ongoing contact with all branches of the Ontario health care system.
Acquired brain injury can result in problems with attention, planning and interacting with others. Spinal cord injury can lead to permanent paralysis. People who have ABI or SCI may require assistance to carry out activities of daily living. ABI and SCI are also linked to significant mental health issues such as depression and behavioural dysfunction.
This chronic health condition that affects the lives of many Ontarians has a severe human and economic impact. It affects individuals, families and the communities they live in due to the range of health care and social supports and services needed to assist the person with neurotrauma to live and participate fully in their community.
There have been many improvements and advances in the acute care of neurotrauma and treatment in the first days, weeks and months following a neurotrauma injury whether traumatic brain injury (TBI) or SCI. This period represents about 10 percent of the care people will require over their lifetimes. To some degree advances in acute care have reduced severity of the injury but have not eliminated the long-term chronic care requirement for those living with neurotrauma.