Gearing up for rehab

As a reminder from our last post, Ray will be transferred to James A. Haley VA hospital in Tampa this Wednesday, September 5th.  He is to leave from Gainesville in the early AM by VA-provided medical transport which promises to be a safe and comfortable trip for Ray.  Once at Tampa, he will be admitted to the TBI program and will undergo an extensive evaluation on his current condition.  Therapies and visitation schedules will then be developed by the VA clinical staff based upon what Ray can safely tolerate.  Until the initial eval is completed, we will not know when visits will be allowed.  We are seeing Ray to be very much at Level IV on the Rancho scale and would not be surprised if visitations are stricter until he advances to Level V or beyond.  Over stimulation at his current stage can lead to increased aggravation and cause regression in recovery.  For those not familiar with the typical symptoms of Level IV and how we can help Ray, we offer the below as a reminder:

Level IV Behaviors:

  • Becomes more alert and active
  • Shows unusual and inappropriate behavior
  • Focus becomes basic, physical needs
  • May scream out, be verbally abusive, behave aggressively, or attempt to remove restraints
  • Speech is often confused or the content may be inappropriate
  • Attention span is very short
  • Memory and the ability to process information are impaired
  • Begins to take some independent action, but is usually very dependent and needs significant help to maintain safety and meet basic needs

How can family and friends help a Level IV patient?

  • Frequently remind the individual of the day and time
  • Explain what is happening to the person
  • Expect the person to be forgetful — you may need to repeat answers several times
  • Demonstrate patience
  • Limit distractions and stimulation
  • Remain calm and provide a safe environment
  • Limit the number of visitors to two to three people at a time
  • Allow the individual to move to the extent that is physically safe
  • Reduce stimuli (sights, sounds, activity) in the environment if the individual becomes agitated or restless
  • Keep the room quiet and calm (close doors, keep TV off, do not have secondary conversations in the room)
  • Simplify words you use when talking, decrease rate of speech, speak naturally

Another excellent resource: What Brain Injury Survivors Want You To Know

We would like to pay special thanks to all the great people that have gone out to see Ray and let him know that we all support him and care so much about him.  It is so nice to see all the posts from people’s visits and read about funny encounters or just how Ray reacted during the visit.  Ray has made remarkable progress and it is from the support of all of you that we see the old Ray coming out again.

A recent visit by Tiffany and Maribel before he leaves for Tampa.

Go Team Ray!!!

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