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Effective rehabilitation for victims of catastrophic injuries

We all ‘want’ a good quality of life. But for some, that possibility is taken away from them and that ‘want’ rapidly becomes a ‘need’. This is absolutely the case for those who have suffered a catastrophic injury. Permanent disability, as a result, changes a person’s life in the blink of an eye. Rehabilitation remains the principal way to attempt to restore some sort of quality of life to these victims, so it’s important that rehabilitation techniques are current, relevant to the individual’s needs, innovative and effective. Ineffective rehab simply supports a poor quality of life which, as a result, hinders any progress in recovery.

What constitutes as effective rehab in catastrophic injuries?

Catastrophic injuries require specific rehabilitation techniques to yield positive effects. Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT), performed alongside conventional rehabilitation therapies, is paving the way in enabling those with severe injuries to begin to regain some sort of quality of life.

As in the case of Mark. After suffering a cycling accident, Mark presented with challenging behaviour and was in a prolonged state of post traumatic amnesia in which he was not oriented to time or place. He had a tracheostomy to help with his breathing and was fed by a tube, which he would frequently pull out, so his hands had to be restrained.

He was also in a wheelchair but Physiotherapy had helped him become able to stand assisted, though his balance remained poor. His challenging behaviour meant physio was difficult and unsurprisingly, he became disengaged with the whole process of rehabilitation.

Following his disengagement, a multidisciplinary team became involved in Mark’s recovery including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, SaLT and psychology. As part of this team, Chroma also introduced Mark to NMT.

Through participation in group music therapy, choosing and watching music videos that were personal to him, helped improve his concentration and level of engagement, so much so, he was able to maintain focus whilst practicing balance and standing. Rhythmic guitar playing was also used to improve pacing and symmetrical walking patterns during physiotherapy.

NMT also helped improve Mark’s level of communication and his recovery continues to improve today.

The importance of a multidisciplinary team for effective rehab

The multidisciplinary team plays an integral role in the rate of recovery for someone living with a catastrophic injury. To re-build muscle strength, improve communication, concentration, motivation to live and participate in rehab – these are all aspects that help improve their quality of life and ultimately that is what therapists are trying to achieve. Whether that be pointing to communicate with loved ones, smiling, standing, walking or nodding, the multidisciplinary team works together to bring about the best recovery outcome for each patient they see.