Back to tips

What you need to know about traumatic brain injury

Drawing of a man brooming inside an head

Everything you need to know about brain injury to help the person you are caring for.

Practical guides and tools to make your day-to-day care easier and help the person you are caring for who has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

default image

What do I need to know about traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic brain injury is an injury of a physical nature that affects the brain tissue. The brain is damaged as a result of being struck or shaken in a direct manner.

While the trauma may result in a fracture of the skull bones, sometimes there is no visible damage to the skin or bones of the skull, even if the brain has been damaged.

Trauma can cause temporary or permanent impairment of brain function.

The most common incidents that cause brain injuries are motor vehicle accidents, accidents at work, accidents caused by extreme sports or activities (field hockey, boxing, parachuting), contact sports, falls (especially in children under 5 years of age and the elderly), and violent acts.

ic_play Play Video

The different types of traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury, also known as TBI, can include:

  • mild, where brain function is affected for a short time. This is known as mTBI;
  • moderate, in which the impact on the head is significant and causes bleeding in the brain;
  • severe. In this case, the force of the impact on the head puts the person in a deep, prolonged coma.

It is estimated that in Quebec, an average of 2,000 people experience moderate/severe TBI each year (in French).

Depending on the severity of the impairment, the person may have difficulty concentrating, reasoning or understanding, memory problems, headaches, fatigue, difficulty controlling impulsiveness, balance problems, anxiety or irritability.

Behind the acronyms and the different spellings and names, there are often difficult realities for people with Alzheimer's disease, their caregivers and their families, who can experience stigmatization and prejudice. The consequences are not well known in society, which is why awareness campaigns and the development of adapted resources are so important.

Course and treatment of traumatic brain injury

The course and treatment depend on the severity of the injury.

For moderate or severe traumatic brain injuries, the goal is to improve functional results and quality of life. Depending on the needs, this involves organizing rehabilitation services, with or without accommodation, or in the person's living environment with the appropriate resources.

In the case of mild trauma, after the incident:

If you have any questions, contact Info-Santé 811.

Questions and possible solutions

My brother is still not able to resume his professional activities. I have to spend a lot of time with him and I feel increasingly isolated. What are my options?

Your situation can be a source of isolation, stress, exhaustion and distress. Faced with these challenges, it is essential to call on existing resources and to protect your own health. You can also contact the Caregiver Support Helpline by phone, e-mail or live chat.

What financial assistance is available? Since my spouse suffered a severe brain injury, our financial situation has been difficult...

This context can cause financial insecurity. L'Appui pour les proches aidants has developed practical advice to help you deal with the various financial issues you may be facing.

We also draw your attention to assistance measures, which were introduced in Quebec in 2022. And, like Manon Beaudoin in her 2020 report (in French), why not "protect" yourself, in your own way?

Since the brain injury, my spouse has been in a state of depression. It's taken a toll on our relationship.

Depression can definitely develop in a person suffering from brain trauma. Sometimes personality changes and behavioural problems are reported, such as aggressiveness or repetitive demands. These manifestations can have an impact on interpersonal relationships within your couple. Many regional associations offer support to improve your living conditions, such as respite, relevant documentation or training.

format_list_bulleted See all tips

Need to talk?

Contact our Caregiver Support Helpline for counselling, information et referrals.

Every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Free of charge.

call  Caregiver info :  1 855 852-7784