Joe* sustained a traumatic brain injury following a road traffic accident in February of this year.
After 10 weeks in a general hospital, Joe was transferred to The Disabilities Trust’s, West Heath House. On admission he was independently mobile and there were no significant difficulties with speech or understanding, however Joe was experiencing confusion, confabulation and memory difficulties, which caused him anxiety. He felt further anxiety about his children, and his memory problems meant it was hard for him to accept that they were well. He initially lacked the mental capacity to consent to his own admission, care and treatment and wanted to leave the centre.
The service’s multi-disciplinary team assessed Joe to create an approach for his therapy. Consideration was taken in regard to making Joe feel safe and to lessen the anxiety he was feeling. He visited his family at home during the weekends which reassured him that his children and wife were well, which helped to reduce his anxiety.
As part of Joe’s therapy approach, Clinical Psychologists at West Heath House used a combination of Neuropsychological Assessment to gain understanding of his difficulties and Psychoeducation to help Joe understand his difficulties himself. Psychological Therapy, primarily Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and Mindfulness Therapy were used to develop Joe’s ability to manage his anxiety and adjust to his cognitive capabilities.
The Occupational Therapy team worked with Joe on cognitive strategies, such as using a diary, mobile phone apps and a sleep monitor, to reduce Joe’s reliance on others and to aid him to function as independently as possible. They also worked with him to improve his practical skills such as road safety and cooking.
With the input from the Clinical Psychology team and Occupational Therapy team, as well as his family, by early June (one month post admission) Joe had gained significant insight into his difficulties. He was able to remember the risks there would’ve been if he had gone home early on and was now able to make thought-out decisions. The mental capacity he had regained allowed him, with support from others, to make the decision to leave West Heath House and go home but continue with therapy by returning regularly.
Joe said “Being back with my children over the summer really helped me to feel better and feel myself again.”
Joe is due to be discharged in September 2018, seven months after his injury. He has been referred to a community neurorehabilitation NHS service on discharge, and his eventual aim is to return to work. Joe sees the second chance he’s been given at life, which has pushed him to pursue a job that he finds meaningful and satisfying.
*Name has been changed