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Rehabilitation

Head injury

09/29/2003

Question:

A close relative was involved in a car accident. He had a head injury (subarachnoid hemmhorage sp?) He is now in rehabilitation but is still quite confused. Is there anything we can do when we are visiting to help with this confusion, like telling the day of the week over and over or should we just stand there and talk to him like nothing is wrong?

Answer:

Thanks for your note. First of all, you should make sure that your relative is involved in cognitive rehabilitation, preferably via a neuropsychologist, who can perform needed testing to see where his deficits may be. For instance, he may be able to learn or remember facts, but the mechanisms involved in accessing those facts may be compromised. Alternatively, he may have difficulty encoding information. A neuropsychologist can ascertain this. There are also training paradigms using certain types of repetition that are more effective than others, depending on the injury. Your neuropsychologist should be knowledgeable about this work. Definitely, though, you should not stand there and act as if nothing is wrong. This certainly does not retrain your loved one`s mind, and doesn`t move him/her forward toward recovery! 

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Response by:

Stephen J Page, PhD Stephen J Page, PhD
Director of Research, Associate Professor
Drake Center
University of Cincinnati