Brain Injury

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Brain Injury Program

Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program Scope of Care

Brain Injury Program Cards

Team Effort. Individualized Care.

Brain injury, whether traumatic or acquired, can take many forms and affect human function in many ways, including memory, physical abilities, cognitive (thinking) abilities, behavior, decision making and more. Within this wide continuum of symptoms and severity, the Rehabilitation Center offers an in-depth and comprehensive program designed to help individuals with brain injury return to the highest level of function and independence possible.

Since the Rehabilitation Center began treating individuals with spinal cord injuries more than forty years ago, thousands of adults, adolescents and children, along with their families, have trusted us with their care. Each year an average of 320 people receive inpatient rehab in a specialized, 32-bed unit dedicated to brain injury care. Because we work with so many patients, we are experienced across all aspects of rehabilitation. This directly helps create better patient outcomes, including much higher than average discharge-to-home rates, and functional gains immediately after leaving the Rehabilitation Center and over time.

It Takes a Team to Treat Brain Injury

The Rehabilitation Center helped pioneer the multidisciplinary team approach to brain injury care and continues to develop innovations and make contributions to the understanding and treatment of brain injury. The team-oriented approach to care is led and coordinated by the largest number of board-certified physiatrists (physicians who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation) on the West Coast, along with other physician specialists including neurologists, nurses, therapists, social workers, case managers, psychologists and other health professionals with specialized training in brain injury rehabilitation.

In all cases, throughout the inpatient experience and beyond, the most important members of this team are the individuals with brain injury and their families who are encouraged and supported to take part in every aspect of care.

National Leadership in Brain Injury Research and Rehabilitation

Santa Clara Valley Medical Center is one of 14 leading US research and patient care facilities designated by the federal government's National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDDR) as a Traumatic Brain Injury Model System of Care. We have earned this distinction, which includes a five-year grant cycle, continuously since the program was initiated in 1987.

The Model Systems designation and the accompanying grant, which is administered through SCVMC's Rehabilitation Research Center, identifies us as a provider of the highest level of comprehensive brain injury services from the point of injury through acute rehabilitation and community reintegration. It also means that we take part in independent and collaborative research and have access to the national TBI database maintained by the Model Systems program. In all cases, we make certain that the information, resources and potential services that may derive from this research are readily accessible throughout the continuum of care, to individuals with brain injury, their families and caregivers, health professionals, other researchers and the general public. For the full range of research projects being carried out by Santa Clara Valley Medical Center's Rehabilitation Research Center please go to

We Take Brain Injury Personally

Every brain injury, like the person who sustains it, is unique. That's why we never forget that while there are many different forms of brain injury, there is only one of you. It's also why we direct the full resources of our capabilities, our four decades of experience and our highly skilled, multidisciplinary team toward a completely individualized rehabilitation program for each patient. We also make sure that the rehab and recovery program is flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions during the process. As a result of this highly personalized approach we don't just treat brain injury; we treat the brain injury that affects you and your family.

A Place for Friends and Family

Our long experience in the area of brain injury rehabilitation has clearly shown how important family and friends can be to the rehabilitation process. Since the time we treated our first patients more than 40 years ago, we have worked hard to provide a very welcoming setting for our patient's "support systems." We closely involve friends and family in support groups, recreational activities and outings, as well as in the rehab process itself, including early goal-setting and frequent team meetings. Because our physician specialists are in-house, not just "on call," they are closely connected to the inpatient program and available and responsive to patients and families. This distinctive level of access on the part of exceptionally talented and dedicated physicians is one of the hallmarks of the rehabilitation experience at SCVMC.

Brain Injury Program

How satisfied were our patients with their care?

  • Over 95.9% of our patients rated their care as good to excellent.
  • 92% of our patients would recommend our hospital to their friend and family.
Where did our patients get discharged to?
  • 86% of our patients were discharged to a home setting compared to a national average of only 75%.
  • Only 2% of our patients were discharged to a skilled nursing facility compared to the national average of 12%.
How complex are the patients we treat medically?
  • Based on case mix index, a measurement of the complexity of the medical needs, our patients were nearly 13.7% more medically complex than the national average.
Who are our patients?
  • The average age for patients with traumatic brain injury was 42 years old and the average age for patients with non traumatic brain injury is 50, with an overall average patient age of 45.
  • We serve adolescents starting at age 14 with an individualized, developmentally appropriate plan of care.
  • 69% of the patients were male and 31% were female.
  • Patients stayed an average of 18 days in the hospital.
Quality of Life:
  • 97.6% of our patients agree that the rehab program prepared them for going home.

Special Brain Injury Programs

Journey to Recovery: This highly individualized program is designed to help patients with severe brain injuries reach their fullest potential for independence. Led by our inpatient physiatrists with the full support of the multidisciplinary care team, Journey to Recovery features a careful evaluation to determine what specific therapies will be the most effective based on each patient's particular needs. Journey to Recovery also focuses on a safe and caring environment with minimal use of restraints, tubes and sedating medications.

Rehabilitation Trauma Center (RTC): This licensed and specialized medical/surgical unit is primarily for individuals with spinal cord injuries or brain injuries accompanied by complicating medical concerns, including respiratory problems. Because of its intensive care model, patients can be admitted to the RTC on a very early post-injury basis and receive aggressive rehabilitation therapies at the earliest possible time. Research shows that early treatment in this type of setting can result in better rehabilitation outcomes. Family members are encouraged to be present in the RTC as often as they desire. Technology

Assistance Program (TAP): This program gives rehab patients with traumatic brain injury and stroke the skills and access needed to connect with people, information and resources. TAP delivers needed technology includes;

  • Adaptive equipment
  • Computer loans and individualized training
  • Web-based patient education
  • Video conferencing

Patients are introduced to TAP as quickly as possible so that it becomes a natural part of their rehabilitation as well as their lifestyle when they return home.

Other Programs:

The Rehabilitation Center's brain injury program also includes a variety of educational resources for patients and families, and specialized peer and support groups:

  • Group for individuals with mild brain injury or those who have substantially recovered from a TBI
  • Women With Disabilities Healthcare Clinic
  • Disabled Students program
  • Day Center programs
  • Outreach clinics designed to serve Northern California and Central Valley communities

To make an adult or pediatric referral to the Rehabilitation Center please call 408.885.2032 or fax 408.885.2001.

For outpatient referrals, please call 408.885.7106 or fax 408.885.7110.

For either inpatient or outpatient referrals, and to schedule a tour of the Rehabilitation Center, please call 408.885.2032