Brain Waves: UAB Traumatic Brain Injury Model System Newsletter Volume 14 | Number 1 | Page 2

LIFE AFTER TBI Getting the Most from PT and OT after Rehabilitation As a person with traumatic brain injury (TBI), your road to recovery usually includes physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT). Soon after you are first injured, your PT and OT act as a team to evaluate you and design your treatment plan. Then, your therapy team provides that treatment during your rehabilitation (rehab). The goal is to help you return to the life you had before your injury or get you as close as possible based on your abilities. The main job of your PT is to help you get the most out of the movement that you have after injury. This includes helping you get stronger as well as improving your strength, range of motion (ROM), stamina, and balance. This helps you get more independent with walking, transferring and other acts of mobility. Your OT focuses more on helping you become more independent with activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs include dressing, bathing, grooming, cooking, housework, gardening, and any other activities and hobbies that are part of your everyday life. Your OT helps you learn to use any adaptive equipment (cooking tools, dressing aids, etc.) that helps you with your ADLs. Your OT also helps you with problem solving, safety awareness, memory, money management and other cognitive issues. After Rehab The transition from rehab to home can be stressful. The change in your environment can bring about increased stress and confusion. • Read the last issue of Brain Waves to learn more on easing the transition from rehabilitation to home You may think that you are on your own in dealing with problem issues. Not necessarily! PT and OT can be very helpful with many common problems. Changing Situations Everyone experiences changes in their life. Some common changes are returning to school, returning to work, or finding a new job. Such changes can be challenging, stressful, confusing and can complicate other emotional, behavioral, and cognitive problems that are common after TBI. PT and OT can help you adapt to, or become used to, those changes. Here are a few examples of how PT and OT can be helpful in easing the stress of changes in your life. • Setting daily schedules • Using a smartphone app or book to assist with memory • Teaching behavioral management skills • Using adaptive technologies or equipment to improve independence • Finding support groups and community resources Medical Problems You may have medical problems beyond the challenges of emotional, behavioral, and cognitive problems related to your TBI. PT and OT can be helpful in managing many of these problems. If you are at risk for a pressure ulcer, you need to be careful to prevent them. PT and OT can evaluate your wheelchair seating and positioning, provide education about positioning and pressure relief, and suggest steps for you to take to stay independent. If a have skin flap surgery, your therapy team can teach you better ways to transfer to avoid added skin damage and better take care of your skin. 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 i nformation.