Ask Kathy M. Archives
A Collection of Questions and Answers from TBI Advice Expert - Kathy Moeller

Topic: Therapy - Rehabilitation Videos

Question:

Dear Kathy M.,

Our father is 48 and two and a half months ago he suffered an anoxic brain injury due to cardiac arrest. He is in a rehabilitation hospital and is on a feeding tube. He is also incontinent. He does sit up on his own, and he is able to speak.

He gets many things mixed up and cannot remember what simple things are (like a coffee cup). We have turned on programs like Sesame Street a few times, and it seems to help, but are there any other videos that would help him that are not geared to children?

Jason


Kathy's Response:

Dear Jason,

Yes, there are rehabilitation materials for persons with brain injury. You may have to do some footwork to find them (it appears that the rehabilitation hospital your father is in, does not specialize in rehabilitation for persons with brain injury, and if so, you will need to do much of the footwork). You could start your research by contacting the national Brain Injury Association, www.biausa.org. Take a look at the resources in their "Media Library" to see if anything looks helpful. The URL for a list of materials is at, http://www.biausa.org/medialib.htm.

Other resources

It appears your father has "word finding" problems. Many people with brain injury suffer from this to one degree or another. A useful tool is an adult visual dictionary. They are similar to a children's picture dictionary, but they are for adults. The one I use in my program is "The MacMillan Visual Dictionary" (MacMillan Publishing).

You can find it and lots of other visual dictionaries by going to www.amazon.com and entering "visual dictionary" under "Books."

Other Options

Unless your father objects, there may be no harm in using material designed for children (if he has a therapist you can discuss this with, talking to his therapist about the pros and cons of this would be a good idea). It is likely he will need to re-learn many things all over again, and children's materials may be your best bet. If he has an occupational therapist or a speech therapist who has worked in the brain injury rehabilitation field, these are professionals who should have access to more age-appropriate materials.

Home-based cognitive rehabilitation

I am curious what your plan of action is for him after he is discharged from the rehabilitation hospital. Will he be moving into a residential facility (where he can possibly re-learn life skills to become independent)? Is he coming home? If so, and particularly if he will not be receiving professional rehabilitation services at home, it is probably not too soon to start thinking about a home-based cognitive rehabilitation program for him (one that the family would administer). Now, keep in mind that this would be a long-term commitment. Remember "BI-time (brain-injury time) is different from "normal" time, and you would be wise to talk to other family members who have done this for their loved ones.

If he is coming home (or if you are looking for a residential facility for him, for that matter), you might want to network with other family members who have "walked the walk." You're lucky because, these days, with the power of the Internet, you have access to hundreds of family members who may have done much of the footwork for you. I facilitate one of the e-mail discussion and support group list for family members called ASSIST-TBI.

 

Hope this helps.
Kathy M.

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