Because an acquired brain injury (ABI) can cause physical, emotional, and cognitive deficits, individuals with ABI may need to seek multiple medical and psychological services during the recovery period. Personal self-advocacy – for example, asserting one’s needs, making necessary appointments, and communicating issues – is important to successfully navigate through these services. However, self-advocacy can be a challenge for those who have survived an ABI.
To address the significance of self-advocacy in the post-ABI period, a recent study proposed two new advocacy-related measures for ABI patients. The first measure was the Self-Advocacy Scale (SAS), which gauged individuals’ self-efficacy (the belief that one is capable of achieving one’s goals) and their general ability to gather information about and seek out appropriate medical resources. The second assessment was the Personal Advocacy Activity Scale (PAAS), which measured the number and quality of individuals’ self-advocacy activities during the last three months. After administering both tests, researchers found that ABI individuals who believe in their self-efficacy are more likely to successfully advocate for themselves through recovery.
These measures provide clinicians with important information about their patients’ ability to obtain care services during the ABI recovery process, allowing them to appropriately educate patients about self-advocacy and ensure better long-term health outcomes.
Source: Hawley L, Pretz C, Morey C, Whiteneck G. Initial validation of personal self-advocacy measures of individuals with acquired brain injury. Rehabilitation Psychology. (May 2016).
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