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How Can You Combine Traditional and Non-Traditional Treatments for TBI?

How Can You Combine Traditional and Non-Traditional Treatments for TBI?


How can you combine traditional and non-traditional treatments for TBI?

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[Dr. Heechin Chae] We have staff who are also open to combining nontraditional and traditional. We have a lot of combination we call leisure activities combining with— one of the therapists actually takes the person into grocery shopping and along with them speech therapist, who is a cognative therapist in occupational therapy, goes with that therapist to really observe how they perform in that setting. That's more like later on, as they try to implement what they learn in the, what I call classroom, or therapy room. Again, that calls for a different model of delivery system, because in an outpatient setting you cannot really get reimbursed or credited for that type of outing, but again changing the ways. Why? Because it's impactful. It really is helpful, not only for the therapist, but for the patient to work together in a life setting rather than just imagining when you go to the grocery store, and that triggers a lot of thoughts in the patient, and the therapist is trying to help them. Forget it, because you lost the patient because he's already thinking, "Oh, I hate the grocery store," and you giving instruction is not going to work. It's really powerful when a therapist goes to that setting that that person is very afraid of and not only observe—even I went to observe one, and it's pretty dramatic how they respond versus just telling you. When they say, "Doc, I'm really scared of going to these crowded places," and I'm thinking— I have a sort of picture it in my mind, but when I actually went with that person in a crowded space like in a bus station or a metro station, that response is very memorable. That's when I saw, "Wow, that's what he means by crowded." There's a lot of stuff there that I learned, and I went back and tried to help him. Those things are a combination of nontraditional and traditional, I think it's about how to tap into things that work for this person.

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Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Lara Collins, and Ashley Gilleland, BrainLine.

Heechin Chae, MD Heechin Chae, MD was appointed site director of DVBIC at Fort Belvoir and chief of the Traumatic Brain Injury Department at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in 2011. He will become the director of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence satellite at Fort Belvoir in 2013.

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