Brain Waves: UAB Traumatic Brain Injury Model System Newsletter Volume 13 | Number 2 | Page 2

LIFE AFTER TBI Easing the Transition from Rehabilitation to Home Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is without doubt a life-changing event. It impacts almost every aspect of life, and putting life back in order is challenging for those who are injured as well as their family. Going home after rehabilitation (rehab) is a major step after TBI. It can be exciting to return to the comforts of home, but it can also be challenging. Our team of professionals from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Traumatic Brain Injury Model System (UAB-TBIMS) has put together some tips to ease the transition from rehab to home. We have also added links to valuable resources to go along with our tips. Learn about TBI It is only natural to have questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but it is important to realize that medical professionals may not have definite answers at first. Sometimes you have to wait to see what happens. Some common questions are answered in fact sheets from the Model System Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC). These fact sheets provide useful health information that is based on research evidence and/ or professional consensus of the TBI Model Systems. These fact sheets are important to read in the early days after injury. • What happens to the brain during injury and in the early stages of recovery from TBI? • Brain injury impact on individual’s functioning • The Recovery Process • The impact of a recent TBI on family members and what they can do to help with recovery • TBI and acute inpatient rehabilitation Keep a balanced mindset Everyone hopes for a full recovery from TBI. Although most people do see improvements after injury, they often continue to have some problems related to the injury. This makes it very important to participate in rehab to learn the skills needed at home. Here are some examples. • Work with therapists and nursing staff to safely manage physical problems and maximize activities of daily living (ADL). • Ask about a home evaluation. This is when a therapist • (usually an Occupational Therapist) goes to your home to evaluate your skills in a real-life setting. Some areas of evaluation might include ADL, mobility skills, and general safety concerns with bed rails, bed alarms, and door alarms. Work with a neuropsychologist to learn to manage cognitive and emotional problems. Here are two related fact sheets. • Cognitive Problems after TBI • Emotional Problems after TBI Minimize Stress There are a lot of adjustments to make in the first few days after getting home. Basically, you are establishing a new “normal” for your life. It can feel overwhelming, but that feeling usually fades as you work through problem issues and relearn how to best manage your daily routine. As you do this, you want to reduce the stress as much as possible. • Start out slowly and ease back into daily activities. It takes time to regain strength and stamina as the body is recovering from the trauma of the injury. It is best Get Involved In UAB Research! Brave Initiative The University of Alabama in Birmingham (UAB) aims to improve the motor deficit of veterans who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. Potential participants must: • be at least 19 years old and 3 months post TBI; • have movement problems or weakness of the • • arms, but the ability to make at least some limited movements with the more affected hand; have no excessive pain; and be able to undergo MRI If you believe you meet the criteria above and would like to participate in this study, Go to the website, call 205934-9768, or email for more information. 2 Project LIFT The University of Alabama at Birmingham Traumatic Brain Injury Model System is evaluating the impact of telephone-based health education programs on health, lifestyle, and aspects of quality of life for people with TBI and their families. Participants are asked to: • answer questions over the phone about your health and lifestyle; • have 2 in-person visits to UAB to collect additional information about your health; and • participate in a 24-26 week telehealth program designed for people with TBI and their families. Call 205-934-3345 or email [email protected] for more information.