Executive Functions after Brain Injury

The brain works in a unified way that allows us to take in information, process it, and act in a purposeful fashion. Purposeful behavior allows us to live safely in our environment, accomplish goals, and succeed to the best of our ability. Although the brain works in a unified way, it is controlled by complex systems. Executive functions are a major system involved in controlling brain function. Executive functions organize and prioritize actions and behaviors. When injury to the brain includes damage to executive functions, the ability to do things like plan, organize, make decisions, focus attention, and manage emotions may no longer function the way it did before the injury. Fortunately, there are ways to recover functions and work around behaviors that occur as a result of brain injury.

This Tip Card will assist family members, caregivers, and others working with individuals who have experienced brain injury to:
•understand the role of executive functions
•understand how they influence the emotions, behaviors and thoughts of the person with a brain injury
•provide strategies on managing the emotions, behaviors, and thoughts of a person with a brain injury