Cognitive Rehabilitation

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when the brain doesn’t process the way it is supposed to

The brain weighs about 3 pounds and is encased in a hard protective shell called the skull. In everyday life we are accustomed to a series of automatic actions, which are allowed to occur as millions of messages are being sent throughout the brain. This is happening so fast and automatic that we are not aware of it most of the time. But what happens when these signals are interrupted and the brain doesn’t process the way it is supposed to?

what is a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)?

A concussion/mild traumatic brain injury is an acute neurophysiological event related to blunt impact or other mechanical energy applied to the head, neck or body (with transmitting forces to the brain). This can occur as a result of sudden acceleration, deceleration or rotational forces. This event can cause damage to living brain tissue at the cellular level which can cause previously automatic skills to now require conscious or deliberate processing. This often leads to fatigue due to a higher demand on cognitive capacity.

it can be sustained from:

  • a motor vehicle crash,
  • sport or recreational injury,
  • falls,
  • workplace injury,
  • or assault.

after a concussion or brain injury there may be cognitive problems such as:

  • disorientation,
  • memory difficulties,
  • attention problems,
  • information processing problems,
  • visual processing problems or
  • language problems.

There could also be damage to executive functions such as goal-setting, planning, organization, self-initiation, self-evaluation and monitoring, flexible problem solving, self-awareness and social judgement. Additionally, a person may experience psycho-social problems relating to your emotions or social interactions such as personality changes, reduced tolerance to frustration, irritability, emotional lability, mood swings, lack of interest in others, anxiety and depression.

does this sound like you?

the leading edge cognitive rehabilitation program

We are pleased to bring Leading Edge Physiotherapy’s occupational services to those who require cognitive rehabilitation in Edmonton and St. Albert. At the first visit a thorough analysis is completed in which we identify the deficient underlying key cognitive skills through the use of standardized tests, questionnaires and structured interview. Once the deficit is determined, we then use education and training exercises designed to improve that particular deficit over a series of visits. This typically involves pen and paper tasks, remedial games, and/or computer tasks. We also help clients identify external and internal strategies to compensate for their cognitive deficits. Finally, we work with you to ensure all cognitive work aims to improve functional activities of daily living. Treatment programs are individualized for each patient and their specific goals. This is provided in our St. Albert facility that is designed specifically for patients who are dealing with the consequences of concussion and/or mild traumatic brain injury.

The Guideline for Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury & Persistent Symptoms, 3rd edition states that patients who have 1) comorbidities or identified health or risk factors and are not on a trajectory of improvement within the first month, or 2) persistent symptoms greater than 4 weeks post-injury, it is recommended that these patients be referred for more comprehensive interdisciplinary evaluation to specialized concussion services/clinics.

Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy focuses on the development of cognitive skills, which have been lost or altered as a result of neurological trauma. The aim of treatment is to improve the ability to carry out everyday tasks. The process includes development of skills through direct retraining or practicing the underlying cognitive skills, use of internal compensatory strategies, use of external aids, education about the problems, causes and implications, and application of all of this in everyday life.

CRT uses process training or practice of various cognitive tasks to optimise the ease with which functions can be performed. It uses consistent and structured activities designed to improve cognitive skills through re-routing information around non-damaged neural pathways in the brain.

Lisa graduated with a Masters in Occupational Therapy from the University of Alberta, but quickly garnered further training and credentials in functional capacity evaluation, ergonomic assessment and advanced orthotic prescription. Utilizing her Matheson training, she has extensive experience providing detailed medical legal, return to work and rehabilitation functional evaluation assessments. Working closely with our vestibular experts she is also able to provide vestibular and cognitive functional assessments for those with concussion, mild traumatic brain injury, balance and/or gait dysfunctions. Lisa combines her keen observation skills with her understanding of vocational and occupational concepts to provide timely and comprehensive documentation for clients. She also has years of practice as our gait analysis expert and with thousands of assessments behind her, she brings experience and art to lower extremity issues. She has advanced training in the provision of cognitive rehabilitation for the analysis, assessment and treatment of patients who have sustained concussion and/or mild traumatic brain injury.

 

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