In medical terms, this is referred to as cognition [kog-nish-uh n].
After a brain injury, there may be problems related to thinking, memory and judgment (i.e., cognition). Because each person is unique, the effects of a person's brain injury are also unique. This means that no two people will have exactly the same (thinking, memory, judgment) problems after a brain injury. Different people have different types, levels, or combinations of cognitive problems. The extent of the cognitive problems will depend on the type and severity of the person’s injury.
This section will discuss common cognitive changes that occur after a brain injury. All or maybe only some of the material may apply directly to your situation. If you have questions, please call your doctor.
One of the most important things to remember about cognitive problems after brain injury is that completing a particular task may depend upon many cognitive abilities. If someone cannot do something, there may be many different cognitive changes that are responsible.
If a person has trouble reading after brain injury, it could mean that there are problems with:
- Vision (can't see the words well)
- Language (may not know what the words mean)
- Concentration, and/or memory (can't remember what was just read)
It is important to know if it is one problem or a combination. Other challenges may arise that are not listed above. Some problems affect many people while others seldom occur. Each person and each brain injury is different.
The type of challenges, as well as the length and amount of recovery, vary considerably from person-to-person and depends on the location, type and extent of injury.
Levels of Functioning
The rehabilitation team will do assessments of cognition on your loved one. One of the assessments is called the Rancho Los Amigos Scale (RLAS) Levels of Cognitive Functioning. Please see the information below for a discussion of the Rancho Scale. The RLAS is used to classify traumatic brain injury only.