A severe head injury is usually defined as being a condition where the injured person has been in an unconscious state for 6 hours or more, or a post-traumatic amnesia of 24 hours or more. A person is likely to be hospitalised and receive rehabilitation.
The head injury is classed as very severe where the injured person has been in unconsciousness for 48 hours or more, or a post-traumatic amnesia of 7 days or more. The longer the length of coma and post-traumatic amnesia, the poorer will be the outcome.
Visible recovery usually occurs in the first six months or so and the injured person can usually continue to make improvement for two years, and sometimes even longer.
In cases of severe and very severe head injuries, the symptoms can be catastrophic and include, loss of consciousness, seizures and convulsions, persistent headaches, persistent nausea, poor or loss of coordination, profound confusion, paralysis, numbness, agitation and aggressive social behaviour, and coma.
Extensive treatment and rehabilitation is often required to try and maximise the injured person’s quality of life after the severe brain injury. Independent living may no longer be possible and long-term care and support might be necessary.