Moderate to Severe Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)


The purpose of this guide is to bring together educational material to support orientation on moderate to severe acquired brain injury (ABI), along with best practice knowledge and resources in caring for individuals with moderate to severe ABI. This resource serves as an access point for practical, evidence-based information for health care professionals working with brain injury survivors, from novice to experienced clinicians. These resources were chosen by members of the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Provincial Network as their favourite and most practical.

This guide focuses on moderate to severe traumatic brain injury, but it includes some resources and links on stroke information, as the sequalae from stroke and traumatic brain injury can be similar. For more information specific to stroke care, please see the Nova Scotia Health Library Subject Guide on Stroke Care.

The Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Provincial Network is a collaborative initiative that provides educational resources to leaders and clinicians to support the delivery of high-quality, evidence-based service across the continuum of care throughout Nova Scotia for persons with ABI.

Introduction to Acquired Brain Injury

What is Brain Injury?

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is damage to the brain that:

  • occurs after birth
  • is not related to a congenital disorder or an illness
  • gets worse with time

Examples of ABI include traumatic brain injury, such as from:

  • a fall
  • motor vehicle accident
  • gunshot wound or assault
  • stroke
  • brain tumor
  • brain infection (meningitis or encephalitis)
  • anoxia (due to near drowning, heart attack, or overdose)

Common symptoms include physical, cognitive, emotional, perceptual, and behavioural changes. Each individual will experience a unique combination of challenges and changes due to their brain injury.