For some survivors, rehabilitation follows a predictable path from one stage to another with little choice offered along the way. There may be only one doctor specializing in the care you require, or one rehabilitation facility within your region. At times however, choice is involved to find your way in your recovery journey. How do you know what service or individual is going to be the right one for you?
Ultimately, it is about finding services backed by the necessary amount of expertise combined with a human being you can feel comfortable working with. In order to be successful in your rehabilitation goals, you not only need to find someone who understands the consequences of your brain injury, but also feel comfortable sharing with – and taking risks with at times – as you move towards your goals. A lack of understanding on either front can cause complications and slow your progress.
When you are referred for service, it can be beneficial to ask questions up front. Ask about what training or education the person you will be working with has received. Ideally you will find someone which has the training in the area of service you require, for example a degree or diploma in the type of service they are providing, plus additional training or experience in brain injury. Additional questions you may ask is: Have you had any additional training related to brain injury? How many clients do you see in a week or month with a brain injury? What considerations do you think are necessary when working with someone with a brain injury?
Some services will be run by more senior staff with more training or experience than the individuals who are working directly with you. If this is the case, find out how information about your progress is shared back and forth, and how these individuals are supported to ensure they are making appropriate choices about your rehabilitation plans. It can sometimes be difficult to find one person who has all the areas of expertise you require. If you find you are working with someone whose knowledge of brain injury is limited, you can request brain injury information from System Navigation that can be shared with the professionals involved.
There are so many aspects of these choices that can be taken into account. Read more in Part 2!