June is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Every day, 60 people in British Columbia experience a brain injury.  Acquired brain injuries (ABIs) can greatly affect people’s lives.  They can alter thinking, sensations (including touch, taste, light, sound and smell), language and emotions as well as mobility and physical health.

British Columbia recognizes June as Brain Injury Awareness Month.  You can access a list of Brain Injury Associations in the province here.

Occupational Therapy and Brain Injury Rehabilitation

Occupational therapists are equipped to positively transform the cognitive, physical and emotional wellbeing of clients who have experienced concussions and other brain injuries.  At OT Works! we strive to keep up-to-date with current and emerging research and clinical evidence surrounding acquired brain injuries.  Many of our clients with ABIs have returned to the activities that bring them joy through collaboration with our occupational therapists.

For more information on our brain injury services at OT Works!, please visit the links below.

Megan and Jodie

Meet Megan DeLeon & Jodie Comerford: Occupational Therapists

Welcome Megan DeLeon and Jodie Comerford to the OT Works! team.  They are graduates of the Occupational Therapy program at the University of British Columbia.  Megan and Jodie work primarily with ICBC clients, individuals with 3rd party health coverage and privately-paying customers.  They guide clients with various diagnoses in managing their daily activities at home, work and in the community.  They help their clients manage their pain and anxiety to improve their independent functioning.

Megan journeys alongside her clients as they try out strategies to achieve their greatest potential.  She brings a wealth of knowledge regarding mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) and concussions due to her previous experience working in the Head Injury Assessment and Treatment Services Program.  She enjoys working one-on-one with her clients to foster both mental and physical wellbeing.  Megan serves clients in the Metro Vancouver region from Vancouver, Richmond and Delta to Langley and Maple Ridge.

Jodie emphasizes the importance of the biopsychosocial approach to fully understand all the factors that affect a person’s health.  She has formerly worked with adults with development disabilities and therefore has a well-structured approach to behaviour modification, skill development and goal attainment.   Jodie also serves clients in the Metro Vancouver region from Vancouver, Richmond and Delta to Langley and Maple Ridge.

Like all of our therapists, Megan and Jodie are full registrants and in good standing with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC).  

Get started with an OT

If you or someone you know could benefit from working with an occupational therapist, contact us today!

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000. 

woman and man smiling outside

Concussion Management: How Occupational Therapy Makes a Difference

Increased awareness about concussions, including expanding research, demonstrates the need for occupational therapy in concussion management.  Concussions result in functional changes that can affect a person’s participation in social, work or household activities.  As experts in function, OTs are well-equipped to assist clients with concussions.  OT Works! regularly helps insurers at ICBC and WorkSafe BC, as well as other third-party insurance companies, to assist clients as they recover.

What is a concussion?

A concussion can result when impact to the head, or a whiplash movement, causes the brain to move quickly and abruptly.  There are a variety of symptoms that can occur including:

  • Physical symptoms: headache, nausea, dizziness
  • Cognitive symptoms: decreased attention, slowed response time, memory difficulties
  • Emotional/behavioural symptoms: irritability, sadness, anxiety
  • Sleep-related: increased sleep, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep

There is increasing evidence against the notion that prolonged rest (after the 24-48 hour mark) improves one’s symptoms.  In fact, it is important the clients start to gradually return to their activities within the first few days post-injury.  The activity level should not bring on or worsen symptoms.

How can an OT help after a concussion?

Occupational therapists support their clients in returning to daily activities gradually and safely.  They provide education regarding concussions and explain what a typical recovery looks like.  Experiencing a concussion may be alarming to a person with a head injury. OTs can help their clients understand their symptoms and what they can do about them.  OTs often review what is can be expected in recovery and provide strategies to return to the things the cleint wants to do.

OTs recognize the unique potential each client possesses.  Together, the OT and client can develop an individualized rehabilitation plan.  They address the individual client’s concerns and personal goals.  For instance, some clients may require gradual exposure to busier environments over a longer period of time if they experience light or sound sensitivity.

OTs also help their clients who have concussions by:

  • Reviewing strategies to be active, without overdoing it: energy conservation, pacing and relaxation techniques
  • Determining ways to work around or with challenges, ultimately to enable a successful return to work
  • Liaising with other healthcare providers and insurers to ensure a timely and thorough rehabilitation

Get started with an OT for concussion management

All of our therapists at OT Works! are certified with the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC) and have additional training in concussion management. Our approach is based on current concussion science and best practice.

If you or someone you know could benefit from concussion management with an occupational therapist, contact us today!

Email:  referrals@ot-works.com

Phone:  604.696.1066 ext. 1000. 

colourful map of world

#BrainInjuryAcrossCanada

June is Brain Injury Awareness Month by Brain Injury Canada – an advocacy movement by brain injury associations, survivors and caregivers throughout the country.  Their mission “is to enhance the quality of life of individuals and families/caregivers living with brain injury in Canada.”

Did you know that approximately 1.5 million Canadians live with a brain injury?  Acquired brain injuries, that occur due to trauma after birth, can affect thinking, sensations (including touch, taste, light, sound and smell), language and emotions.  Often, they appear as a part of a silent epidemic; concussions, impaired cognitive and behavioural functioning are not necessarily as visible as other disabilities.  Everyone involved in brain injury rehabilitation and recovery face the social, emotional and economic consequences that arise, even if they are not a survivor themselves.  It is important for survivors and community members to share their stories and demonstrate how brain injuries can be overcome.

Enrico Quilico:  Athlete, Educator, Traumatic Brain-injury Survivor

Over a decade ago, Enrico nearly lost his life when he was thrown from his motorcycle while veering to avoid a car in front of him.  He spent two weeks in an induced coma.  Doctors told his parents to think about whether he should remain on life support when he did not initially wake up. 

When he did regain consciousness, Enrico had to re-learn many basic skills like walking and proper pronunciation.  He credits his recovery, to the point he is at now, due to continuous exercise.  He has competed in over 16 triathlons and, in 2016, he participated in the Ironman while raising funds in support of Brain Injury Canada.

Enrico has also earned several degrees since his accident.  He has a Bachelor’s degree in education from Concordia University and a research-based Master’s degree in kinesiology and physical education from McGill.  His research focuses on determining the benefits of physical exercise for others who have had similar experiences to him.  Enrico was able to take a situation that seemed to negatively impact his life and turned it into something positive.

The OT Works! and Brain-Injury Rehabilitation

OT Works! is a proud supporter of Brain Injury Awareness Month.  Every month, our team of occupational therapists meet for in-service education.  In February of this year, OT Works! joined a webinar co-presented by Enrico on “The Importance of Exercising After Traumatic Brain Injury.”  He shared his research and outcomes of a 9 to 12-month exercise program developed to help patients recover from a traumatic brain injury.

Our OTs continue to provide quality care while keeping up-to-date with current and emerging research and clinical evidence.  Our OTs are knowledgeable on treating traumatic brain injuries and we have helped hundreds of clients with concussions return to the activities they love. Our OTs have advanced training and regularly attend brain injury rehabilitation workshops.  Through their education, they help clients overcome their barriers in order to achieve success.

How Can We Help?

Give us a call if you are interested in how an OT can help you or someone you know with a traumatic brain injury. 

Phone: 604.696.1066 ext. 1000.

Email: Referral@ot-works.com

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