After a traumatic brain injury, developing goals in a rehabilitative setting
can feel like a daunting task. You might wonder if you will ever get back
to your “normal” self and may even have trouble remembering
exactly who you were before your accident or injury. Your rehabilitation
team can and will help you find a place to start. Whether it’s your
physician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech-language
pathologist, kinesiotherapist, or any other team member, these are professionals
whose careers are dedicated to helping people return to their prior level
There are two kinds of goals a person sets in a rehabilitative setting:
short-term goals and long-term goals. A short-term goal is written with
specific criteria and should be met inside of a few weeks or month at
the most. A long-term goal is more general than a short-term goal and
is meant to be met after a month or even a few months’ time, usually
when the person is discharged from his rehabilitation stay. For example,
a person with leg weakness may have a short-term goal to lift a certain
weight with her legs in three weeks with regular physical therapy. This
same person may have a long-term goal of returning to taking long walks
as a leisure activity after rehab is complete. These kinds of goals can
be written for many different activities of daily living including physical
activity, speech, language, fine motor skills, attention, memory, decision-making
and even sleep.
While you work toward your individual goals, it is important for you to
explore using compensatory strategies. Compensatory strategies can improve
your performance and help you meet your goals faster as you gradually
return to your prior level of functioning. Compensatory strategies can
be either environmental modifications or a minor change in behavior. Perhaps
you have a long-term goal of getting back to your office job, and want
to improve your memory and attention in order to manage a revolving task
list and schedule.
A compensatory strategy to explore could include using technology such
as an app on your phone, a calendar with set details including reminders,
alarms, and alerts, or even low-tech strategies such as writing detailed
lists on a daily basis to help you manage your duties at the office. Compensatory
strategies should be personalized as much as possible and trialed by the
person to ensure they are feasible and practical. Your physician and therapists
can help you explore using compensatory strategies appropriate for your
individual goals and current level of functioning.
Lastly, as you set your goals in a rehabilitative setting, don’t
be afraid to consult with your family and friends. They know you well
and can help you fill in missing pieces as you work toward a full recovery.
These people may even attend your individual therapy sessions and tell
your rehab team about your personality and what other people in your life
may expect from you once you leave rehab. Your road to recovery will likely
be enhanced and accelerated with the input of your friends and family
working together with your rehab team.
For questions and further information, please
contact Scarlett Law Group.