Module 4: Understanding and managing
    cognitive changes following an TBI

4.0 Aim, rational, key strategies and concepts and outcomes


This module provides information on how a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause changes in a person’s cognitive functioning and offers strategies that can help to compensate for their difficulties.


A TBI can cause subtle or dramatic changes to a person’s cognitive functioning. This in turn affects their ability to manage day-to-day tasks independently. Some people make a complete physical recovery and the only permanent disability they are left with is cognitive changes.

Cognitive changes can affect the person's ability to perform activities as well as their personality and behaviour. It is therefore important for those working with people with a TBI, to be aware of the cognitive consequences that can occur and what this could mean to the person and their carers.

It can be extremely challenging working with a person who has severe cognitive impairments. Another issue for workers may be that the person appears to be in good physical shape, and yet is unable to do even simple tasks without assistance. Awareness of these changes and appropriate compensatory strategies helps workers to interact more effectively with a person with a TBI.


At the end of this module, you should be able to:

4.1 define neuropsychology and the role of the neuropsychologist

4.2 recognise normal difficulties that may occur with memory, attention and concentration

4.3 identify some of the common cognitive changes resulting from a traumatic brain injury

4.4 list possible strategies to compensate for cognitive changes

4.5 identify how the behaviour of a person with impaired cognitive functions might be misunderstood or misinterpreted by other people.

Module 4 compiled by

Kim Ferry Senior Neuropsychologist Revised by Rebecca Bowen Rehabilitation Psychologist Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit Liverpool Hospital, Sydney