By Joanne Finegan, MSA, CTRS President, ReMed
“Getting better” following a brain injury is complicated and depends on a number of things including severity of injury, length of time the individual was in a coma, physical issues, cognitive status and how quickly they are responding to treatment. The earlier rehabilitation is accessed and the type of rehabilitation available makes a big difference. In rehabilitation, the ultimate goal is to restore or improve function to allow the person to participate as fully, productively and independently as possible in their life and community of choice. Recovery from a brain injury varies considerably, even between people with similar injuries. The pace and extent of recovery from a brain injury can be a lifelong and multi-phased process that occurs over the course of many months and years.
Survivors of traumatic brain injury often experience significant medical complexities and co-occurring pain that relate to orthopedic injury, headache pain, pain secondary to spasticity and contracture, myofacial pain, disease or other medical conditions or neuropathic pain sources. Regardless of the source, the issues must be treated aggressively during the rehabilitation process. Treatment must be comprehensive and focused on acceptance and management of the issue as well as improving function and the goal of pursuing productive activity.
The road to wellness for a person with a brain injury and co-occurring complex issues requires the individual to accept the challenges of those issues and move onto other parts of recovery and life in general. This includes the development of a stable activity pattern, full participation in the rehabilitation process, development of adaptive coping skills and enhancing independent functioning. It is critical for the individual, the treatment team and the individuals outside supports (family, friends and funder) to remain productively engaged in the process to ensure that the plan is comprehensive, understood and supported as well as being followed completely.
About Joanne Finegan, MSA, CTRS, FDRT
Joanne Finegan is the President of ReMed Recovery Care Centers, a rehabilitation and supported living provider for people with acquired brain injury and has been with the organization for over 27 years. Leading ReMed utilizing her skills as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, her Masters Degree in Administration and her years of experience specializing in brain injury treatment, she has continuously worked to grow a strong, clinically focused organization and to educate others on the impact and lifelong effects of brain injury. ReMed’s real life rehabilitation model serves as her foundation. Finegan has served on the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for many years as a board member, trustee and was Chairman of the Board in 2004. She has also served as the Chairman of the Board of the National Council on Therapeutic Recreation Certification and in 2005 was honored by the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRS) as a Distinguished Fellow, the organization’s highest distinction. During 2013, she was honored as a Fellow by the Pennsylvania State University Alumni Association, and is the President of the Council on Brain Injury (CoBI), a non-profit organization. Finegan is also an Advisory Board member at the Pennsylvania State University’s Brandywine Campus.
Source: ReMed/Battery Hill