THANK YOU!

We hope you enjoyed our Tips of the Day for Brain Injury Awareness Month. Even though March is over, the mission continues.

Be looking for our monthly newsletter which debuts this monthly and will feature more tips, educational articles and stories from brain injury survivors.

We are also beginning our membership options soon so we will keep you posted on that as well.

Thanks for your support.

Tip of the Day for 3/31/21

Today’s Tip of the Day gives you a chance to win FREE goodies.

As we wrap up Brain Injury Awareness month, we just want to thank everyone who offered us feedback on our daily Tips of the Day. We hope that these tips helped you in some way along your lives.

Be sure to pass them on to someone you think could use the information.

Every though the month is ending, the journey goes on and we will be continuing to offer educational opportunities and resources as well as assistance for those with traumatic and acquired brain injuries.

Starting soon, we will be beginning a Membership plan to offer those that support us information, discounts on educational opportunities, monthly newsletter and FREE Goodies. Until then, you can offer support for the Alaska Brain Injury Network anytime by going to our website at www.alaskabraininjury.net and clicking on the Donate button. Your help will help ensure that our mission continues.

Now, for something FUN!

If you email us at [email protected] with the word HOPE, we will enter you in a drawing for a free t-shirt and Alaska Brain Injury Network “Hope” bracelet. Simple email and type HOPE into the message.

Good luck!

Check out our learning library at www.alaskabraininjury.net for online pamphlets with more tips on this and other issues that affect those with brain injury.

*the Tips of the Day are for informational purposes only and are not to replace the advice of a health care provider. See your doctor if you have any concerns both medical and emotional.

Tip of the Day for 3/29/21

Today’s Tip of the Day talks about Divorce after Brain Injury.

Have you heard that the divorce rate after brain injury is high? Don’t believe everything you hear.

Research has given a mixed picture of divorce rates after brain injury. In the 1970s, researchers began to study post-injury divorce rates and found that 40% of couples were either separated or divorced seven years after injury. A review of studies published after 1980 shows alarmingly high post-injury divorce rates ranging from 48% to 78%.

There is little doubt that brain injury can strain marriages. Spouses often take on many of the injured person’s responsibilities, though they may have little experience with their new responsibilities. Unemployment rates after brain injury are relatively high and many insurance companies do not cover the costs of therapy, adding to financial stresses. Brain injury often brings on drastic personality changes which may include irritability, depression, limited awareness of injury-related changes, and argumentativeness. Some spouses have reported, “I’m married, but to a stranger”.

In 2007, Virginia Commonwealth University TBI Model Systems researchers published one of the first comprehensive investigations of marriage after brain injury. The researchers gathered information from 120 people with mild, moderate, and severe injuries who were married at the time of their injury. Survivors three to eight years post-injury, averaging 41 years of age, were asked about their marital status. Results showed that 3 out of 4 (90/120) remained married at the time of follow-up.

As a result of their research, the VCU investigators became concerned that past studies may have produced misleading negative information. In their published research paper, the authors stated, “The present investigation does not [support] the notion that divorce rates for persons with brain injury are higher than those for the general population.”

Recent research suggests the rate of divorce after brain injury may, in fact, be much lower than divorce rates for the general population. The news is encouraging. While some spouses report more stresses and marital troubles post-injury, some report connecting with each other in new, positive ways as they face injury-related challenges together.

Here are more findings:

  • 17% of survivors were divorced and 8% were separated, an overall
  • marital breakdown rate of 25%
  • male and female survivors had similar marital breakdown rates the more serious the injury, the greater likelihood of divorce; for example, on average, people who were divorced had been unconscious three times as long as people who were still married
  • age mattered; people who were older at the time of injury were much more likely to stay
  • married; no participant 60 years old or older was separated or divorced
  • length of marriage was important; people who had been married for longer periods of time before the injury were more likely to stay married after the injury; none of the couples married 30 years or more before the injury got separated or divorced.

Other important study results:

  • only 15% of subjects were separated or divorced
  • age was a very important predictor of marital stability with older persons less likely to divorce
  • male survivors were more likely to have an unstable marriage (i.e. to be separated or divorced) than female survivors
  • cause of injury was an important factor; persons who were injured as a result of violence were less likely to be married at follow-up
  • for minority group members, persons with more severe injuries were more likely to remain married

Check out our learning library at www.alaskabraininjury.net for online pamphlets with more tips on this and other issues that affect those with brain injury.

Source: https://www.brainline.org/article/truth-about-divorce-after-traumatic-brain-injury#:~:text=A%20review%20of%20studies%20published,experience%20with%20their%20new%20responsibilities.

*the Tips of the Day are for informational purposes only and are not to replace the advice of a health care provider. See your doctor if you have any concerns bother medical and emotional. t

Tip of the Day for 3/36/21

Today’s Tip of the Day talks about brain injury in infants.

Infant brain damage symptoms range from mild to severe and can include signs of cerebral palsy, seizures, or cognitive impairments and developmental delays. Sometimes, brain damage is mild and goes unnoticed, but in other cases, it’s more serious and obvious as soon as the infant is born.

How Does Infant Brain Damage Happen?

Infant brain damage could be the result of an acquired or a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury occurs when some physical force from the outside strikes or puts pressure on the head. This may occur in an infant during childbirth because of birth injuries.

The head may get stuck in the birth canal, for instance, or the doctor may use an instrument like forceps with too much force on the baby’s head.

An acquired brain injury occurs when something happens internally, inside the skull or brain.

During childbirth, nearly half of all brain damage is caused by asphyxiation, when the brain is deprived of oxygen. This can occur because of an illness in the mother, when there are complications with the umbilical cord or placenta, or when the baby’s head becomes stuck in the birth canal.

In some cases, the causes of brain damage are unforeseen. They may be accidents that could not be prevented.

Immediate Infant Brain Damage Symptoms

Infant brain damage caused by complications of childbirth is not always immediately or easily recognized. The symptoms could be mild or delayed.

In cases of severe brain damage, symptoms are more likely to be recognized right after birth. Physical symptoms can include a small head or skull, a large forehead, a malformed spine, stiffness in the neck, unusual or distorted facial features, and abnormal eye movement.

Other early symptoms of brain damage can include seizures. An infant may also display certain behavioral symptoms of brain damage like excessive crying, unusual irritability or fussiness, difficulty sleeping or eating, and other signs of general discomfort that have no other explanation.

Later Physical Symptoms of Brain Damage

When brain damage is less severe or does not cause immediate physical and behavioral symptoms, parents may start to notice later signs that a child has suffered brain damage. As an infant with brain damage gets older, they may develop sleeping disorders or sensitivity to light.

The baby may exhibit tremors or muscle spasms, or even develop paralysis in certain parts of the body. Extreme fatigue can also be a sign of brain damage.

As a baby grows, brain damage may cause difficulty with physical development. A baby may be slow to crawl, sit up, stand up, and walk.

Feeding may be difficult for a child to do alone.

As a child grows older they may struggle to learn and perform physical tasks like getting dressed, tying shoes, using writing instruments, and may have trouble reaching other physical and motor milestones.

Developmental and Cognitive Symptoms

Brain damage in an infant may also manifest as mental, behavioral, and emotional developmental issues or delays.

A child may be spatially disoriented or have a higher sensitivity to pain. The child may have difficulties with concentration and focusing, remembering things, or developing language and vocabulary.

Behavioral challenges may include impulse control or acting out. These can become more pronounced as a child goes to school and begins to interact with other children.

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

A common condition that results from brain damage during childbirth is cerebral palsy, which causes certain characteristic symptoms. Symptoms of cerebral palsy may indicate that a child has suffered brain damage during childbirth.

Other symptoms of cerebral palsy include:

  • Delays in reaching motor milestones
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills
  • Poor coordination,
  • Scissoring legs
  • Abnormal limb movements
  • Floppy muscles and joints
  • Learning disabilities
  • Trouble speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Slow and writhing movements
  • Vision and hearing loss
  • Seizures,
  • Drooling
  • Urinary and bowel incontinence
  • Growth delays

Diagnosis

Infant brain damage symptoms are varied and diverse. For some children, the signs may not even show up for months or years, or if they do may not be obvious enough to lead to a diagnosis.

If there are symptoms that develop soon after birth, a doctor can diagnose brain damage by using imaging scans like CT scans or MRIs. These can show if there is traumatic damage.

If the damage is not clear, diagnosis is trickier. Monitoring for symptoms may be the only way to detect and diagnose brain damage.

Check out our learning library at www.alaskabraininjury.net for online pamphlets with more tips on this and other issues that affect those with brain injury.

Source: https://www.cerebralpalsyguidance.com/birth-injury/infant-brain-damage/symptoms/

*the Tips of the Day are for informational purposes only and are not to replace the advice of a health care provider. See your doctor if you have any concerns both medical and emotional.

Tip of the Day 3/25/21

Tip of the Day 3/25/2021

Today’s Tip of the Day talks about living with a brain injury during COVID.

The world has certainly changed over the past year. The way we live, perform our work and regular activities has been altered. For those with TBI, the pandemic can be even a more daunting task.

Coping with a brain injury is never easy. The Covid-19 pandemic may exacerbate the cognitive, physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms associated with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).Being trapped at home can be frightening. For brain injury survivors, removed from day programs, club houses, and support groups amplifies their fear and isolation. Their symptoms may worsen.

People with a brain injury may not understand the scope of the pandemic and its unusual demands, such as the need to wear masks, heightened protocols for social distancing, and repeated handwashing.

Below is a video to remind those interacting with brain injury survivors, including medical providers, first responders, legal professionals, families, and friends to provide additional understanding, support, assistance, and special care necessary to those with TBI.

Take a moment to check on a neighbor, friend, family member, or client suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Let a brain injury survivor know they are not alone. Regardless of your occupation or profession, there is always something you can do, or say, or someone you can help.

Check out our learning library at www.alaskabraininjury.net for online pamphlets with more tips on this and other issues that affect those with brain injury.

Source: https://brainlaw.com/covid19/

*the Tips of the Day are for informational purposes only and are not to replace the advice of a health care provider. See your doctor if you have any concerns both medical and emotional.

Tip of the Day for 3/24/21

Today’s Tip of the Day talks about driving after a TBI.

How can a TBI affect driving ability?

A brain injury can disrupt and slow down skills that are essential for good driving, such as:

  • Ability to maintain a constant position in a lane.
  • Having accurate vision.
  • Maintaining concentration over long periods of time.
  • Memory functioning, such as recalling directions.
  • Figuring out solutions to problems.
  • Hand-eye coordination.
  • Reaction time.
  • Safety awareness and judgment.

Warning signs of unsafe driving

  • Driving too fast/slow.
  • Not observing signs or signals.
  • Judging distance inaccurately when stopping or turning.
  • Slow to make decisions.
  • Becoming easily frustrated or confused.
  • Having accidents or near misses.
  • Drifting across lane markings into other lanes.
  • Getting lost easily, even in familiar areas.

Driving evaluations and training

A driving evaluation is a crucial step in determining a person’s ability to drive following recovery from a TBI. Research studies indicate that most TBI survivors are not thoroughly evaluated for driving skills before they begin driving after the injury, and this may put TBI survivors at risk for a crash.

While there is no standardized assessment test or process, a typical driving evaluation has two parts:

  • Preliminary Evaluation: A review of cognitive (thinking) abilities, including reaction time, judgment, reasoning and visual spatial skills. Recommendations regarding the need for adaptive equipment and additional skills training are based on the results of the evaluation.
  • On-the-Road: A test of the mechanical operation of a vehicle, either using a driving simulator or driving a vehicle on the roadway in the presence of the evaluator. This evaluation is used to assess safe driving skills in various traffic environments, as well as basic driving skills while a client uses the appropriate adaptive driving equipment.

Vehicle modifications

If an individual with TBI has physical disabilities but has well-preserved cognitive functions, the individual may be able to resume driving with adaptive equipment and/or other modifications to the vehicle.

Recommendations for adaptive equipment and modifications could include:

  • Hand-controlled gas and brake systems.
  • Spinner knobs for steering.
  • Left foot accelerator.
  • Lifts for entering and exiting the vehicle.

Step-by-Step: Should you be driving?

  1. Discuss your ability to drive with your doctor and/or health professionals, family members
  2. Get a professional evaluation to determine your driving ability
  3. Based on your evaluation you may be allowed to drive, need training or vehicle modification before returning to driving, or will need to use other transportation options

Check out our learning library at www.alaskabraininjury.net for online pamphlets with more tips on this and other issues that affect those with brain injury.

Source: https://msktc.org/tbi/factsheets/driving-after-traumatic-brain-injury

*the Tips of the Day are for informational purposes only and are not to replace the advice of a health care provider. See your doctor if you have any concerns bother medical and emotional. ccen

Tip of the Day 3/23/21

Today’s Tip of the Day talks about Mood changes after a TBI.

In previous tips, we have touched on various changes that occur after a brain injury. Today, we dig deeper into the Behavioral changes that may occur.

Personality changes (or what feels like them) are common following a traumatic brain injury. Even a concussion can affect the brain long after it’s healed from the initial injury. The way we process and understand information can change as a result of the injury, so it’s not surprising that our emotions are affected, too.

Many people suffer from social anxiety, irritability, anger, depression, feelings of overwhelm, general anxiety, mood swings, or emotional lability (teariness) after their injury. But make no mistake: While these symptoms can make it seem like you’re a different person now, your personality is intact. It’s just buried under the weight of symptoms that are so, so hard to handle.

Here are some of the symptoms that you may be experiencing.

Anger and Irritability

Anxiety

Depression

Emotional Lability

Impulsivity

Social Struggles

What to Do with These Emotions

Identify Your Triggers

Get a Family Member to Help

Make a Destimulation Plan

Name the Emotion

Get Some Exercise

Keep a Journal

Above All, Get the Right Treatment

Long-lasting symptoms will not resolve without treatment. If you’ve experienced emotional problems and other common symptoms for over three months, it’s time to seek help.

The following video explains more about the symptoms and also how to handle them.

Check out our learning library at www.alaskabraininjury.net for online pamphlets with more tips on this and other issues that affect those with brain injury.

Source: https://www.cognitivefxusa.com/blog/personality-changes-after-a-brain-injury-or-concussion

*the Tips of the Day are for informational purposes only and are not to replace the advice of a health care provider. See your doctor if you have any concerns bother medical and emotional.

Tip of the Day for 3/22/21

Today’s Tip of the Day explains what a concussion is.

In our office at the Alaska Brain Injury Network, one of the most common statements we hear on the phone is, “My family member got hit in the head and the doctor says it is a concussion. How do I know if it is a TBI?”

Every person is different and so if every injury. While a concussion may be the start of a TBI, that is not always the case. We’ll leave it to your medical provider to determine that.

Today we decided to offer up some videos explaining concussions to hopefully help you determine next steps in your journey.

https://youtu.be/Sno_0Jd8GuA

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.

Concussions Are Serious

Medical providers may describe a concussion as a “mild” brain injury because concussions are usually not life-threatening. Even so, the effects of a concussion can be serious.

HEADS UP Video: What Is a Concussion?

https://youtu.be/fSRWF44wgn8

Check out our learning library at www.alaskabraininjury.net for online pamphlets with more tips on this and other issues that affect those with brain injury.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_whatis.html

Tip of the Day for 3/19/21

Today’s Tip of the Day talks about changes in the family dynamic after brain injury

We have touched on the subject on caregiving in a previous tip. Today we talk a bit more about the family as a whole.

Family life often changes dramatically after brain injury. Changes may persist for months or years. Look at the quotes from family members below. Perhaps you’ve heard your family members make the same comments. Perhaps you’ve said these things to yourself.

“Everything has changed since my son’s injury. I haven’t had a minute for myself.”

“I’ve missed my last two doctor’s appointments because no one else could get him to his physical therapy appointments.”

“I am exhausted. We can’t count on anything anymore. Nothing has been the same since the accident.”

After TBI, the sole focus of rehabilitation staff and family members is on the needs of the person with the injury. Because there is such a great focus on the patient, family members often lose sight of their own well-being and how their lives have changed.

Research shows that family members who serve as caregivers commonly face many difficulties after injury. On an emotional level, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated is a common experience. Many caregivers are upset by their loved one’s suffering, loss of abilities, and need for complex medical care. Aside from financial concerns, many people worry about their ability to provide quality care and whether family life will ever return to “normal.” Feeling worn out by the increasing number of responsibilities they have taken on is a common experience.

There is no doubt that family members have an important role in rehabilitation and recovery. As a family caregiver, you may be wondering how you can stay healthy and emotionally strong in the face of so many challenges.

When someone suffers a TBI, the entire family is affected. Studies show that caregivers of people who have suffered a brain injury may experience feelings of burden, distress, anxiety, anger, and depression. If you are caring for a partner, spouse, child, relative, or close friend with TBI, it is important to recognize how stressful this situation can be and to seek support services.

Services that may be most helpful to you include in-home assistance (home health aides or personal care assistants), respite care to provide breaks from caregiving, brain injury support groups, and ongoing or short-term counseling to adjust to all of the life changes post-injury. You also may need to ask your support system of family, friends, and community members for help with your loved one’s care, so that you don’t get burned out.

In your role as a caregiver, you will probably find that it can be difficult to get appropriate and adequate services for your loved one. It is important to know that you will most likely need to advocate for your loved one and be persistent in your search for assistance. You should use your network of family and friends, as well as professionals, to get tips about available resources and provide support.

Check out our learning library at www.alaskabraininjury.net for online pamphlets with more tips on this and other issues that affect those with brain injury.

Source: https://www.caregiver.org/resource/traumatic-brain-injury/

https://www.brainline.org/article/family-change-after-brain-injury sdlocked

Tip of the Day for 3/18/21

Today’s Tip of the Day talks about managing money after a brain injury

Individuals who have sustained a brain injury often have cognitive, emotional, and behavioral difficulties that impair their ability to manage their personal finances. The assistance that is required depends on the unique needs of the individual and can range from merely providing help to pay bills to complete management of the person’s financial affairs. It is important to utilize the least restrictive solution to protect a person with a brain injury from their inability to manage finances and to allow the person as much freedom and personal control as possible. In other words, a remedy needs to be found that is tailored to the individual, lawful, and limited to only those activities for which the individual needs assistance.

Tips for Managing Money After Brain Injury

  • Take a close look at monthly expenses and figure out what can be cut and what must be spent to maintain a reasonable standard of living. If possible, refrain from waiting on a cut to be necessary and, instead, make decisions quickly. These may be things like downgrading cable, selling an extra car, or eliminating your home phone in lieu of your mobile.
  • Therapies for brain injury can be costly. If finances are tight, take the opportunity to speak with the clinicians on your treatment team about various options. It may be that you can assume some therapy at home, on your own or with the help of a loved one – that allows you to go to a clinic less frequently.
  • Prepare and follow a reasonable budget.
  • Utilize available social services. The Brain Injury Association of America, and its network of state affiliates, can give you more information on available sources for help near you.
  • If recommended, apply for Social Security Disability as soon as possible.
  • Be open and honest with yourself, your friends, and your family. Tell all your family and friends that times are tight, so for special occasions and holidays, you’d like gift cards.

Check out our learning library at www.alaskabraininjury.net for online pamphlets with more tips on this and other issues that affect those with brain injury.

Source: https://www.biausa.org/brain-injury/about-brain-injury/adults-what-to-expect/adults-brain-injury-financial-issues