If you're in the process of recovering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you may be wondering whether you can ever fully return to a normal life. So many of the things you've taken for granted -- eating, dressing, even reading the label on a box of cereal -- may seem much more difficult now. However, there is still hope. Read on to learn more about how a home-based occupational therapist may be able to help you regain a normal life, as well as the skills to financially support yourself.
What is an occupational therapist?
Occupational therapy is a specialty that assists patients in regaining the skills needed to become more independent, including the skills necessary to obtain employment. Many occupational therapists work to help individuals who have been injured or suffered from a physical disability overcome certain limitations. You might think of an occupational therapist as a combination of a physical therapist and a life coach.
For example, a postal carrier who broke his or her arm would work with an occupational therapist both to improve the range of motion of the joint and determine which of the postal carrier's job processes could be altered or shifted to reduce strain on the injured arm until fully healed. The occupational therapist may also make recommendations to help the patient avoid suffering a similar injury in the future.
Although occupational therapy is designed to help you return to work, the ultimate goal for those therapists working in the mental home health arena is to assist you in improving your memory and ability to handle certain tasks throughout your everyday life, not only the skills you need for your job.
What can an occupational therapist do to help you?
The types of activities an occupational therapist will perform with you largely depend upon the severity of your TBI. Mild TBI may affect your memory, mood, and concept of time, while more serious TBI can affect movement and cognition.
If your brain injury was mild to moderate, you may be facing difficulties in remembering what you should be doing, as well as performing all the tasks needed to leave the house, go grocery shopping, or run other errands. In these situations, your occupational therapist may work with you to determine what types of reminders are most helpful to you. For example, if there are three things on your daily "to-do" list, your therapist may experiment with smartphone calendars, organizational apps, or even sticky notes to see which is most effective at helping you remember the tasks you need to perform.
If your TBI is more severe, you may need occupational therapy that is more geared toward physical recovery. You may need to incorporate adaptive devices, such as walkers or extendable grabbers to assist you with your physical movements while you retrain your muscles and joints to perform these movements independently. Your physical therapist may help you manipulate your joint or work on stretches to improve your range of motion. By ensuring that you can lead as independent a life as possible, as well as helping you work toward further independence, an occupational therapist can allow you regain the confidence you may have lost after your accident.
After working with you for a few months, your occupational therapist should be able to gauge your prognosis and better direct your therapy (whether to re-entering your old job or simply gaining the independence to dress and bathe yourself). Your therapist may also be able to help you make modifications to your home that will make your progress easier.
A sudden, traumatic injury can feel life-ending. However, with the help of a well-trained occupational therapist, you may be able to recover skills and abilities you thought were forever lost.
Ever since I was a young girl, I have had bad asthma and allergies. I had to stay in the hospital several times when I was in elementary school just to help get my asthma under control and it seemed like I was trying medication after medication with little success. I don't remember all of my childhood health details, since I was so young, but my mother has "filled in the blanks" for me. Thanks to modern medicine and a natural remedy, my health conditions are currently under control and have been for a few years now. I am very grateful for my good health, and I want to "pay it back" to others by creating a blog where I will post my health tips. I hope I can help you learn how to achieve good health!