How Memory is Affected by a Traumatic Brain Injury

When you hear the word brain injury, you might associate it with memory loss. Problems with memory are common, especially in patients who have had a moderate to severe brain injury. 

The cause of memory loss is closely related to the area of the brain that is injured. Damage to the part of the brain that affects memory can affect patients differently depending on the location of the brain involved. 

Some patients have difficulty with learning new tasks or remembering specific skills. It may affect short-term memory, while with others, it impacts long-term memory.

Patients can struggle with remembering what they need to do in the future, such as keeping appointments, paying bills, or keeping commitments. 

Sometimes the patient may not even remember the event that caused the injury in the first place. But there is some good news: At the right post-acute rehabilitation center, patients can learn to cope with memory problems and learn different ways to improve their memory.


How a Brain Injury Affects Short and Long Term Memory

Patients with a TBI usually don't forget everything from their past. Contrary to what we think of when we hear amnesia, it is unusual for patients to have no memory of their history. 

Often patients can remember certain things from the past, including what they accomplished early in life (long-term memories). But learning new skills, tasks and retaining further information can be a challenge (short-term memories). 

Common short term memory problems can include: 

  • Details about conversations
  • Forgetting where items are left, such as keys or their cell phone
  • Not remembering what was said today or even last week leading them to ask the same questions or tell the same story frequently
  • Not knowing what time it is or the day of the week
  • Not remembering what they watched on T.V or read in a book


How Can Memory Be Improved in Patients with a TBI?

Compensatory strategies are often the best way to improve memory problems at present and in the future. Medications may be helpful but cannot replace good traumatic brain injury rehabilitation

Compensatory strategies involve:

  • Using memory tasks such as making lists.
  • Writing in a notebook.
  • Remembering to set the alarm on your cell phone. 

Other compensatory strategies include: 

  • Slowing down and repeating information to the patient understands
  • Limiting distractions 
  • Allow time to practice and repeat activities to strengthen memory
  • Help the patient through the use of organizers, calendars, or notebooks to write down important information such as appointments
  • Use of pillboxes to help to remember to take medication
  • Creating a "memory station" where the patient always keeps essential items such as key, their cell phone or wallet
  • Encouraging the use of checklists where activities can be crossed off once completed 

Having a family member to help patients implement these strategies at home is important, especially when transitioning home after acute rehabilitation. You'll see improvement in the patient's memory skills with time as long as they are encouraged to practice strategies regularly. 


But what if the memory loss is severe and a higher level of care is needed for the patient?

That is when you need to seek the best in neurological rehabilitation treatment. 


Finding the Best Inpatient Neuro Rehab Near Me

Neulife understands that every injury is different, and every patient has unique memory challenges. That is why we use an individualized approach for our patients. 

Our program addresses the specific needs of each patient and their family. We incorporate memory exercises and strategies into the patient's treatment plan to maximize their ability to heal from memory loss. 

Our brain injury rehabilitation program includes clinical evaluations, medical care, and therapeutic activities customized to meet each patient's goals, needs, and abilities. 

By leveraging various rehabilitation services, we can create an integrated approach focused on helping each patient recover skills associated with activities of daily living (ADLs) using compensatory strategies and mobility aids to achieve a seamless transition back home.

Every component of the treatment plan is customized to the individual patient for guaranteed results.

If you have any questions at all please do contact us. You can also schedule a tour around our modern, patient-friendly facility. We are looking forward to seeing you! 


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.


Dedicated to providing the highest caliber of care to individuals with brain injuries, NeuLife Rehabilitation is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).
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We know that choosing the next step in your recovery from a catastrophic illness or injury is complex. Together, we can help you take the next step.

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