Individuals living with brain injury may feel isolated or confused about what services might help them live their fullest life. Each have different eligibility or criteria for acceptance. Be sure to ask what finances they accept for services, transportation, and what the daily/weekly schedule looks like.
Where to Start?
Not sure where to start? Some questions you might ask yourself.
|Are you interested in building up your skills in movement, speech, memory, or daily activity?||Rehabilitation services may be able to help. Day programs may also work on these skills in a more informal way.|
|Are you looking for a formal diagnosis or assessment of your skills to determine a plan of treatment?||A neuropsychological assessment and other medical professionals may be able to help.|
|Are you having difficulty adjusting to your injury and life that may be different than before? Are you feeling unusually stressed, sad, not needing sleep, or hearing/seeing things that aren't there?||Counseling and mental health services may be able to help. Whether you are interested in talking with someone, medication management, or joining a support group, it is important to know that you are not alone and there are people out there who can help you.|
|Are you looking for something to do during the day? Are you wanting to meet people who have experienced brain injury, connect to resources, and practice skills?||Day programs and activity can offer an outlet for socialization and activity to prevent boredom or isolation.|
|Do you need some extra medical or supervision supports for your daily activity? Do you feel more comfortable in your home or in a more structured environment?||Residential resources may be beneficial for you. There are a variety of different levels of support that range from staying in your home or getting the maximum supports for safety with medical assistance.|
|Are you finding it difficult to take care of daily tasks or housing logistics (rent, medications, bills, etc.)? Are you interested in working and having a job but maybe need some assistance getting or learning a new job?||Independent living resources can help you stay in your home environment with additional supports or training. Employment or work services can help with job searching, interviewing, and learn a new job.|
|Are you a veteran or military service member looking for resources after brain injury sustained during or after your service?||Veteran services can be available in the civilian and military service world. Explore more options and opportunities for individuals living with brain injury.|
Community Service Types
Individuals after brain injury may notice a wide range of changes due to differences in the brain's communication with the rest of the body. Luckily, the brain's connections can actually change and adapt based on repetition and experience through a process called neuroplasticity. Rehabilitation services are often available through in-patient care or outpatient treatment. Some services may be a part of housing/residential services or available through state funded programs (such as Medicaid) but on a limited number of appointments for the year.
Physical Therapists evaluate and treat a person’s ability to move their body. The physical therapist focuses on improving physical function by addressing muscle strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, and coordination. Functional goals include increasing independent ability with sitting, walking, getting in and out of bed, on and off a toilet, or in and out of a bathtub.
Occupational Therapy (OT)
Occupational therapists use purposeful activities as a means of preventing, reducing, or overcoming physical, cognitive (thinking), and emotional challenges. Occupational therapists address activities of daily living (referred to as ADLs) such as feeding, swallowing, bathing, dressing, and using the bathroom. They often assist individuals regain movements for transferring, as well as addressing vision, sensation, driving, and fine motor skills (movement of small body muscles, such as in the hands).
Speech/Language Pathology (SLP)
Speech/Language Pathologists evaluate an ability to comprehend what is seen or heard, as well as express oneself through speech, writing, or other forms of communication. In situations where the individual is unable to speak, SLPs will train them to use assistive technology (a piece of equipment/product) as an alternative form of communication. They may also assist with cognitive skills such as memory or attention.
Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy (CRT) is used to describe treatments that address the cognitive problems that can arise after a brain injury. Methods might include restorative (whose goal is to improve function with repetition of activities) or compensatory (which trains solutions to specific problem areas such as using memory notebooks or learning self-cuing strategies) treatment. Many different types of professionals deliver services described as CRT including SLPs, OTs, PTs, rehab counselors, or neuropsychologists.
Vestibular therapy is an exercise-based program primarily designed to reduce vertigo and dizziness, gaze instability, and/or imbalance and falls. With proper treatment, individuals can regain function as the brain learns to use other senses to substitute for the damage to the vestibular system.
Recreational Therapists provide activities to improve and enhance self-esteem, social skills, motor skills, coordination, endurance, cognitive skills, and leisure skills. For example, a recreational therapist may plan community outings to allow a person to apply their learned skills in a real-life situation. Additional benefits might be relieving isolation or mental health issues.
Art therapists use creativity in ways like painting, sculpture, and writing to explore and help with depression, medical illnesses, past traumatic events, and addiction.
Vision rehabilitation after brain injury is usually initiated by the neuro-ophthalmologist. Efforts range from the hospital to the community settings with treatment involving specialized glasses or devices (i.e. magnification, glare-control), assessment for abnormal eye movements, and discussing medical/surgical options. An individual may be prescribed exercises to improve vision (i.e. visual field, movement).