Health Partners and Equipment in Neurologic Rehabilitation Part II

In most cases a neurologic disease or injury occurs suddenly and without warning. The impact can be sharp and wide reaching and few people are prepared for the aftereffects. Recovery and management of such diseases and injuries can be daunting if you do not know what to expect. Many people experience needs or issues that they are unfamiliar with and often are not aware of the various resources and providers available to help them with their needs. Below is a list of resources and community partners you may be able to access where you live to support your recovery and improve your quality of life. By no means is this list exhaustive and I would recommend reaching out to some of the people in your immediate community for more specific guidance. You’d be surprised what resources lie close to home if you know what you are looking for!

If you haven’t checked out Part I of this blog its a great place to start.

Adaptive Equipment

Performing daily tasks such as dressing, walking, meal prep or work tasks may be difficult with a neurologic injury or disorder. Luckily there are creative types out there who have been crafting adaptive devices for almost anything you can think of. A quick internet search may help you find what you are looking for but Occupational, Physical and Speech therapists are also great resources for these devices. Adaptive equipment exists to help with small tasks such as grasping a fork or buttoning a shirt, for bigger tasks such as inserting or removing a urinary catheter, for holding weights during a workout session and many more tasks. 

Splints, bracing and orthotics

Splinting and bracing may also increase your efficiency and independence. Many people view bracing and splinting as a sign that they haven’t recovered or as something that will hinder their recovery but the truth is that when utilized appropriately splinting and bracing may improve your safety, decrease the need for help from others, increase energy, reduce pain and increase ability to walk. Again, physical or occupational therapists are trained in prescribing splints and braces. If you would benefit from a custom brace or splint you may be referred to an Orthotist who will not only work with your insurance to determine if they may pay for some or all of the device but can order an off the shelf brace or build a custom brace to meet your specific needs. A prescription from your physician will be needed if insurance coverage is sought. 

Community Partners and Allied Health Professionals

In addition to your therapy team and medical specialists there are many community partners and allied health professionals that can support you in many ways. Here is just a short list of resources you might find helpful

-Mental/Psychological Support: licensed-clinical social workers, psychologist and psychiatrists can be imperative in supporting mental and emotional wellbeing. Coping and adapting during life with a neurologic injury or disease can be challenging and taking care of your mental and emotional health (that includes caregivers too!) is important. Local support groups are also a great way to find others who share your experience. Everyone of us could use a strong support system and sometimes reaching for support outside of your closest family and friends is important and can help reduce feelings of overwhelm, anxiety or depression.

-Neuropsychologist: Neuropsychologists are different than traditional psychologists. Neuropsychologists study brain and behavior changes that occur following a neurologic trauma or disease. They work specifically to understand the cause and severity of memory difficulties, mood disorders, learning difficulties and nervous system dysfunction. They can assess components such as problem-solving abilities, reasoning, and so forth. They utilize interview, possibly imaging and formalized testing to assess these and many other different areas. Neuropsychological evaluation can give you a deeper understanding of your condition and can help develop a treatment plan to help improve or rehabilitate these impairments. 

-Neuro Ophthalmologist: Neuro Ophthalmologists take care of visual problems related to the nervous system. The brain is highly involved in vision related tasks and any injury or disease that affects the brain or nerves may affect your vision. Neuro Ophthalmology may be beneficial to diagnose visual changes and provide a treatment plan to improve or compensate for your vision impairments.

-Vocational Rehabilitation: Vocational Rehabilitation Programs provide services and support in order to assist persons with disabilities to meet their employment goals. If you have a physical or mental disorder that presents a significant impediment to employment you may qualify for a vocational rehabilitation program. Vocational Rehabilitation Programs are often run or funded by the state and eligibility is determined based on need. An internet search for Vocational Rehabilitation Programs in your state may provide you with the information you need for referral and eligibility to a program. 

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