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What Is the Role of the Spouse or Family in Occupational Therapy?

What Is the Role of the Spouse or Family in Occupational Therapy?


What is the role of the spouse or family in occupational therapy?

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[Dr. Kristen Maisano] I have an open door policy—and many of our other clinicians do as well— that family members are welcome at any time, at any session, any evaluation. Sometimes we joke that people come for "wife-mandated therapy" instead of "command-mandated therapy." But the spouse of a service member with mild traumatic brain injury or PTSD is able to tell us a lot of information that maybe the service member is overlooking. And sometimes it's hard to look inside and say, "That deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan or both really did change me." But your wife has been there all along, and she's seen what it has done. And she's able to say, "You know what—this is different," or "this is the same," or "this is amplified." And she's able to also help us carry over interventions outside the clinic. So we have time in the clinic, but the majority of the work falls on the service member outside of the clinic— doing homework, trying to get out into public places, and using the strategies that we're teaching so that it's not just a classroom—we're developing it into the whole world.

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Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Erica Queen, BrainLine.

Kristen Maisano, OTDKristen Maisano, OTD is an occupational therapist and the interim director of Rehabilitation Services for the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia. She specializes in evaluating and treating military patients with traumatic brain injuries.

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