Working with Brain Injury

“If you’ve seen one brain injury, you’ve seen one brain injury…” For professionals who work with brain injury survivors, it is quickly evident that every case is unique and that diagnosis and treatment are rarely simple.

This section includes resources and links to additional information that is pertinent to those individuals who serve TBI survivors in a professional capacity, as well as other professionals who may not be familiar with the best ways to work with someone with a brain injury.


Skill Pack

BIANC has created a skill pack that gives detailed information on good practice for working with individuals with a brain injury. This valuable resource is especially helpful for professionals working in a hospital, medical, or rehabilitation setting. The PDF is available for download and can be printed.

TBI Skill Pack for Professionals

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if one of my clients has, or may have had, a brain injury? 

If a brain injury is suspected, professionals can ask several questions during an interview that may shed light on the person’s history of head trauma. These questions include the following:

  • Have you ever been hit in the head?
  • Have you ever lost consciousness?
  • Have you ever had a concussion?
  • Do you, or did you ever, play contact sports?
  • Have you ever been in a car accident?
  • Have you ever been in a physical fight or a victim of violence?
  • Are you a veteran? Were you ever injured in service?


What are some tips on how to best work with a brain injury survivor?

  • Provide simple written information
  • Have a family member present during the appointment.
  • Speak simply and ask direct questions.
  • Avoid long, complicated discussions.
  • Check the client’s understanding of the information presented
  • Offer breaks.
  • Provide appointment reminders.
  • Be careful with humor and your personal space.


What if I need to make a referral related to brain injury?

Brain injury rehabilitation and treatment services are highly specialized. Knowing where quality rehabilitation services are located in your community is most important for referring clients appropriately. The majority of physicians have little or no experience with brain injury and its short and long-term impact. Identifying a physiatrist (rehabilitation doctor) and a neurologist who do have experience treating those with brain injuries can greatly improve an individual’s overall medical care. Major trauma centers and rehabilitation facilities in urban areas are a good place to start.

It is also imperative to include an evaluation from a qualified mental health professional if the survivor is displaying cognitive or emotional difficulties. Many neuropsychologists specialize in the treatment of brain injury, while counselors and other psychologists can also provide beneficial therapy and behavioral management techniques.

Visit the BIANC Resource Book to see referral options for these categories.


BIANC Resource Book & Regional Offices

BIANC Resource Book

The BIANC Resource Book is intended to be a guide for individuals with brain injury, family members of brain injury survivors, and professionals who serve them. It provides information and referrals for services related to brain injury.

BIANC Regional Offices

Click here to see a listing of our regional offices. If you have questions or concerns, please get in touch with us through the office closest to you so that we can assist you.


Resources for Healthcare Providers
This website from the CDC gives fact sheets and other information for healthcare providers who work with brain injury survivors.

TBI Manual for Social Workers
A guide to working with TBI survivors, especially as it relates to social work and case management.

Guidebook for Psychologists
A guide to working with TBI survivors, especially as it relates to clinical psychology and mental health services.