Below is a basic overview of how a client’s care team works together to assist the client in successfully reaching his or her goals.
Every TBI survivor has a team of people helping them during their rehabilitation process. Below are the typical team members you will encounter.
A Case Manager is a social worker who helps connect the client with the appropriate doctors and therapists after their accident. The CM also works closely with the insurance company to make sure clients get the best quality care at a price they can afford/ what insurance will pay for. There are also specialized CM’s called Nurse Case Managers who help clients manage and monitor their health throughout the recovery process, not just upfront. Clients reach out to their case managers with questions about which doctors to go to, who pays for what, and what to do when a complex medical issue arises.
This doctor oversees all TBI related care. They write the scripts for all the therapies, any aides, and prescriptions deemed necessary for a TBI survivor to reach their highest level of independence. They typically see their clients every 3-4 months to monitor their recovery and reevaluate what medications, tests, and therapies they may need.
The survivor is the most important member of the team and determines the pace and extent of their rehabilitation. Although sometimes, depending on the extent of one’s injuries, a family member may actually be making the decisions. The client typically spends the majority of their life, post injury, in a lifestyle of rehabilitation. Rehab typically takes 20-30 years.
SLP- Speech Language Pathologist
The name SLP is deceiving, for an SLP does so much more than assist with language; they deal with the entire cognition process, or ‘everything from the neck up’. Their goal is to help clients reconnect the broken parts of their brain, promote memory, and develop strategies to help a client in areas where their brain is now deficient. Clients usually meet with an SLP in a clinic, anywhere from 1-3 times a week.
OT- Occupational Therapist
An OT assists their clients in developing strategies to adapt to life post injury. They help them with real-world tasks that become difficult after a TBI, like organizing a calendar, navigating a grocery store, and finding ways to effectively record important information. OT’s can meet with clients in a clinic, in the client’s home, or in public depending on the therapy goals at that time. Clients typically meet with an OT 1-2 times a week.
After a TBI, clients often have difficulty processing emotions, impulses, social interactions and stimulating or overwhelming situations at home or in public; which can affect their behavior, relationships, and overall mental health. Many seek the help of a Neuropsychiatrist, a Behaviorist, or a Counselor with some background in TBI to help navigate and deal with these issues. Clients can meet with these specialists as needed or up to 2 times a week.
Many clients have sustained serious injuries in addition to a TBI during their initial accident and deal with physical limitations, disabilities, and chronic pain. Many see a Physical therapist, get medical massage, and many other forms of therapy to assist them in function and pain management. Clients can meet with these specialists as needed or up to 2 times a week.
Insurance Companies can play a big role in paying for the necessary care of TBI clients. The adjuster assigned to a client dictates the types of work and the scope of what we can do. Each adjuster interprets what kind of care their company will cover differently and gives specific instruction for individual clients.
TBI Attendant Care Aide (this is OUR role at Compass Attendant Care)
The goal of a TBI attendant care aide is to help clients implement the therapy goals that are set out by the rest of the care team through reminders and guided assistance. We also help clients tackle projects and daily tasks at home by helping them organize and set realistic goals for the day, and then work alongside them as a guide towards making logical decisions, staying focused, and giving reminders to rest when necessary. Clients are allotted a certain number of aide hours a week to be divided and used in a way that fits in the client’s busy rehabilitation schedule.