Prefrontal Cortex Damage

Facts about prefrontal cortex brain damage

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The Functions of the Prefrontal Cortex

The Prefrontal Cortex is described by the National Institute of Mental Health as the "seat of the brain's executive function". It is here that higher-level thought processes regarding judgment, decision making and problem solving take place. According to AmenClinics, it is also where attention span, impulse control, organization and self-monitoring take are regulated, among many other things. Mood and attitude, memory and empathy are also handled by this area of the brain. For these reasons, it should come as no surprise that damage or disease of this area of the brain can drastically change many functions of an individual.

Patient Information

The patient for which you will be caring recently sustained significant damage to his prefrontal cortex in an automobile accident. According to his loved ones, he was previously a very friendly and likeable man, who spend his spare time building and flying model air planes. Though he has regained much of his motor function and is capable of taking care of his basic needs, his mood is now frequently irritable and he exhibits signs of social detachment and apathy, behavior changes which have been determined by the University of Washington as characteristic of this type of brain damage. He has problems planning actions, such as which route to take to go to the grocery store, and concentrating for any period of time.

Patient Specific Treatments

The above text provides a link to the Brain Injury Institute's informational page regarding treatments for traumatic brain injury. This specific patient will undergo the following treatments to attempt to restore the patient's brain function as detailed by the Brain Injury Institute:
-The patient will have ongoing appointments with a psychiatrist to monitor and assess cognitive brain function throughout rehabilitation
-He will also be seeing a neuropsychologist in order to document changes to cognitive and emotional abilities, such as mood, memory retention and problem solving.
-He will receive pain medication and medical treatment to reduce brain swelling as needed.
-He will participate in physical therapy to improve his motor function and in occupational therapy to relearn basic skills, such as bathing and feeding himself.

Caretaker Questions

How much help will the patient need to complete daily tasks, such as dressing or using the rest room?

Can this damage ever be fully healed?

What sorts of behaviors should be reported to his caseworker?