As a member of the Court of Protection Department it's hard not to consider how we remember things without discussing the impact that a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) may have on someone's ability to do tasks we often take for granted. One major impact of a TBI is that someone's thinking process and thinking ability may dramatically alter post injury.
It is more common to find that moderate to severe TBI patients will often suffer from short term memory difficulty, however, this is not to say that long term memory issues may be apparent in specific cases. As a result of short term memory difficulty being problematic for the individual, they may find it tough to carry out tasks such as remembering to return calls, losing track of time and remembering what shopping they need to buy. When suffering these side effects, TBI patients may be encouraged to adapt their routine so their independence can remain when carrying out day to day tasks.
One method TBI patients may find beneficial is to keep tabs on what they wish to remember. Using external memory aids such as notebooks and whiteboards will most likely be a coping mechanism for how one would deal with day to day life after a TBI. The visual representation, rather than relying on the brain, to remember specific situations and notes will inevitably place the brain under less stress.
Compensatory strategies such as notebooks and planners, allow the individual to strengthen the memory trace within their brain and the information should remain close by when access is needed, to be used as a prompt in given situations such as supermarkets and busy environments. The concept of using a notebook as a prompt will potentially avoid the brain becoming overloaded with information.
Paraphrasing and the dissection of longer paragraphs into smaller ones, may also be useful tools when note taking. Compensatory strategies may also include the removal of background noise when carrying out a certain task that requires a high level of concentration.
Those who suffer from memory loss will benefit from daily routines. Although often most associated with those cases where someone may suffer from memory loss as a result of Alzheimer's, a daily routine can often help those who have suffered a TBI. A routine is beneficial to reduce anxiety to a minimum and the element of familiarity will ideally allow the individual to be calm and relaxed.
The inclusion of daily activities within someone's routine will allow the individuals emotional state and stress levels to be controlled to a level where their happiness is clear. A routine will help alleviate uncertainty and remove the prospect of the individual perseverating on what they should do next.
The concept of neuro-fatigue being present in an individual will most likely be heightened following a TBI, as a result of the brain working hard to repair itself after the sustained injury. This means that an individual with a TBI must keep neuro-fatigue to a minimum, and routine will allow for rest periods to be scheduled in. Sleep and napping are vital parts of the healing process and sleep deprivation may noticeably effect a person's ability to concentrate and remember things.
Alongside this, board games may be a fun way of enhancing cognitive skills to help independence and activate important mental skills throughout life. Carole Walker has recently discussed this topic in her blog: Entertaining Ways to Help Recovery from an Acquired Brain Injury
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.