Experts in Nottingham are marking a national week aimed at raising awareness of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) by speaking about the devastating effects of memory loss commonly associated with the condition.
The University of Nottingham academics are working in collaboration with clinicians at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
on a new study to test the effectiveness of a new memory-specific rehabilitation programme for patients affected by TBI.
Lack of awareness
Dr Roshan das Nair
, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Honorary Associate Professor in the University’s Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing, and Professor Nadina Lincoln
from the Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing are leading the research. Dr das Nair said: “Currently, there is a lack of awareness about brain injuries and the types of impairments individuals experience following such an injury.
“Often, symptoms such as memory impairments can be ‘invisible’ and many individuals with TBI and their carers frequently say their specific problems receive little understanding in the wider community.”
TBI is a type of brain injury which occurs when a person sustains a trauma to the head, commonly due to road traffic accidents, assaults and falls. A large number of those affected each year are serving military personnel.
Around half (between 40 per cent and 60 per cent) of people with TBI are affected with memory problems which are not only persistent but are debilitating and can have a severe impact on the quality of their life. Many cannot return to work and it can seriously affect their social life and relationships. While there is limited support for people once they have been discharged from hospital, these services are not currently very consistent.
The trial offers people affected by the condition the opportunity to undergo a 10-week programme of rehabilitation specifically aimed at reducing memory loss or have their usual care.
During the rehabilitation, patients learn about the nature of memory and discuss specific memory problems and why while some things may be easily remembered others can be more challenging. They will then take part in a series of sessions discussing attention and concentration and how to improve these skills. Finally, they will have the opportunity to learn a range of different strategies to compensate for memory loss and retrain residual memory functions.
Participants will have follow up visits at six and 12 months to assess their progress and this will be compared to a group of patients who have received only the current clinical care to establish how effective the specialist rehabilitation has been.
The researchers will publish the results of the trial and, if found to be a success, are hoping that the specialist rehabilitation programme could act as a blueprint for similar services for TBI patients to be rolled out nationally.
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