Defining Acquired Brain Injuries

An acquired brain injury is, in effect, damage to the brain that has occurred after someone’s born.

Some brain injuries are genetic, or they might have occurred at the fetal stage of human development.

The difference between a traumatic brain injury and an acquired brain injury is that acquired brain injuries are not caused by an external force (i.e. physical trauma).

Acquired brain injuries can be caused from many sources. They are often caused from a stroke, a tumor, a lack of oxygen for a period of time, attempted suicide, poisoning, substance abuse or a by disease processes, collectively this is known as encephalopathy.

People with acquired brain injuries are affected in different ways, depending on what part(s) of the brain have been affected. Typically, people with this condition experience:

  • Difficulties with cognition and memory
  • Difficulties processing information
  • Managing emotions
  • Managing behaviour in social circumstances
  • Large changes to someone’s ability to move
  • Challenges with strength, balance and coordination

How Community Therapy helps people with Acquired Brain Injuries

Occupational Therapy

Our Occupational Therapists will be engaged to look at:

  • Appropriate assistive equipment
  • Appropriate modifications to the home to make the home safe, as well as to make it more accessible for independent living
  • Helping someone re-learn life skills (i.e. look at planning their day to manage fatigue, look at planning their week)
  • Looking to support someone to return to the workforce and to hobbies they love


When our Physiotherapists work with someone living with an acquired brain injury we address:

  • How they move
  • Physical capacity (strength, balance, mobility)
  • Risk of falling
  • Pain management

Typically, our Physiotherapists will be involved with weekly or fortnightly frequency of rehabilitation sessions.

We will also prescribe exercises for the person to complete individually or with the assistance of a support worker.

The Physiotherapy engagement is typically long term assuming:

  • We’re seeing improvements in physical capacity, or
  • The person’s ability to maintain a level of function requires the specialised input of a Physiotherapist

Our process

We accept referrals from all sources. For acquired brain injuries, referrals are often from

  • The person living with the condition
  • Other health professionals
  • GPs
  • NDIS providers – the most common
  • Lifetime Care and Support providers

Once we receive the referral, we’ll book in to see that person within 10 business days, and formulate a plan of how we’re going to work together.