13th February, 2018
"My job as a Community Rehabilitation Worker involves a wide range of tasks. I support people with brain injuries to get back out into the community. This might include going to the cinema, shopping, bowling, having lunch in a café or helping them to gain confidence using public transport.
I also help them to develop strategies to cope with things like budgeting, meal planning, managing hoarding, exam revision, writing essays and putting together a C.V. Much of the work I do is focused on helping our clients to be more independent in their home and tasks such as cooking, cleaning, housework, taking the dog for a walk, learning how to use the internet and doing physio exercises help them to take back control of their own lives.
I am glad to know I am helping someone with their goals and that it will eventually lead to them gaining independence in a particular aspect of their life. We can take our independence for granted and don’t realise how frustrating it can be to lose it. I enjoy motivating clients and supporting them. It’s an amazing feeling seeing a client grow in confidence as they try different things or realise that they can still do things they thought they couldn’t anymore (even the simplest tasks!) or when they learn new things about themselves.
It's important to build up a relationship with and gain the trust of a client, so that I am able to know the best way to motivate them.The thing that I have been most proud of is helping a client revise for his exams so that he could get the grades to go to university – something he doubted he could do because he had a brain injury. I helped the same client practice planning and cooking quick and simple meals he could make while living away from home, and put together a recipe folder.
The first time a client stayed in an art session for the full hour and completed a piece of work was also a high point. It was difficult to engage him beforehand and he would often leave the session because he didn’t want to participate. He had a huge smile on his face when we took his photo holding his artwork as a reminder for the next week.
Another great memory is a session where we had a list of household chores to do and the client just did them one after the other with minimal cajoling and even suggested extra chores to do after! The first time I started working with him, it would take a long time to get him up off the sofa to do even one or two tasks. It once took us an hour to hang the washing out because we had to think about the client’s fatigue, mobility and balance and co-ordination (when standing up to peg clothes). I was really impressed and proud that he stuck with the task and didn’t give up.
The best approach for working with people with a brain injury is showing patience. No two brain injuries are the same and everyone experiences it differently. Listening skills are so important. One of the things I’m told most often by clients is that being listened to is very much appreciated.
You have to be open minded, flexible and adaptable do to this work. Some days and sessions will be great, some not so much. Brain injury and its effects can be unpredictable and sometimes this is hard for the person to understand, deal with and manage but it helps if you can be there to say it’s okay, we can problem solve together."
“ The Hospital Brain Injury Co-ordinator became someone who absolutely understood how I felt, I didn’t need to explain. I could talk about my fears and worries. She was such a great support through the difficult days, but could also celebrate the small step successes, which was important to me. ”