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Polytrauma/TBI System of Care

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Recovery and Rehabilitation

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After TBI and polytrauma, the body begins a remarkable repair process. Recovery tends to follow an accelerating curve, which is most rapid in the first three months to a year after the injury, but continues at a slower pace for years later. There is, however, considerable individual variability in the recovery curve, so that it is difficult to predict the pattern, time course or ultimate extent of recovery in a given individual.

While some people may recover from mild injuries within days and may not require medical intervention, others with more severe injuries or with symptoms that do not resolve quickly may benefit from consulting rehabilitation specialists to oversee and direct the recovery process.


Rehabilitation medicine is a branch of medicine that aims to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to those with impairments or disabilities due to disease or injury.

VA’s Polytrauma System of Care (PSC) leverages specialized medical, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial rehabilitation treatments to support the recovery goals of the persons injured and their caregivers. Rehabilitation services focus on recovery, adaptation, and adjustment to life changes after TBI and polytrauma.

Each patient responds differently to rehabilitation. Some patients have lengthy stays in an acute,  inpatient program and other patients receive their care through outpatient  services. While some patients treated in the polytrauma programs are able to return to active duty, pursue school, or return to work, others will continue to need more intense supportive services and care. VA's PSC provides an integrated system of specialized rehabilitation programs and ensures that Veterans receive the right care at the right time.