Friday, 20 January 2012

Molly goes into rehabilitation

Ian Molly Meldrum Molly Meldrum has recently been transferred from hospital to a private rehabilitation centre, Epworth Rehabilitation Home.

Reportedly, the focus of his rehabilitation will be on improving his memory. Specifically, according to his brother, Brian, "getting things into the short term memory to the extent that they're passed onto the long term memory". There are ongoing reports that he is disoriented, has memory lapses, can only participate in limited conversation and that his recovery is likely to be gradual and prolonged.

Given his age and the likely severity of his traumatic brain injury, these outcomes are unsurprising. However, a rehabilitation program will ensure that Molly has the best possible recovery.

What is rehabilitation

Rehabilitation can be physical or cognitive, and in the case of traumatic brain injury, usually both. Our focus will be on cognitive rehabilitation.

Cognitive (thinking skills) rehabilitation has two components: restoration of functions that can be restored (remediation) and using intact skills to compensate for impaired skills (compensation). Processes that lend themselves well to restoration are things like unilateral visual inattention, where an individual does not attend properly to objects/information on one side. With practice and use of specific techniques to draw the patient's focus to the neglected side, this can often be restored.

Memory, particularly in cases of severe injury and with older patients, is often very difficult to restore. Compensation is the best option for treating memory problems. Common memory compensation techniques are using calendars, labelling objects, placing commonly used items in the same place each time, asking others to provide reminders and using techniques that optimise use of the memory process least impaired (e.g. if visual memory is better than verbal memory the use of charts/pictures can help).

The first step and the cornerstone of treatment for traumatic brain injury is a thorough neuropsychological assessment to identify level of functioning and pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. For more information about our assessment and treatment services, visit the ANTS website or contact us.

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