Ronny Part 1: Stoical self-reliance was stifling Ronny’s life six years after a motorbike accident left him brain injured.
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Ronny: stoical self-reliance was stifling Ronny’s life six years after a motorbike accident left him brain injured. He wasn’t one to accept help...here's how our Neuro OT cracked this case.
Filtering his way through a traffic jam, motorbike rider, Ronny must have felt confident that everyone else around him knew the rules of the road.
Sadly, he was wrong. In a sudden move to escape the queue, a driver ahead, failing to see him, pulled out and there was no time for Ronny to stop.
The collision left him with a significant brain injury which, by the time Krysalis was called in six years later, was impacting on his personal well-being and engagement with others.
But there was a more immediate challenge facing our Neuro OT: Ronny had a history of resisting help in any form, and one of those forms was OT...
Challenging behaviour can be a huge difficulty for someone with a brain injury. I have found that listening, reflecting and acknowledging and, if not, always validating the thoughts and feelings of our clients, empowers them and makes a big impact in helping them to manage their behaviour.
Clinically, Ronny presented with difficulties with memory and attention, and his planning, problem-solving and decision-making were poor. He also suffered with fatigue.
The medico legal case arising from the motorbike crash was still unresolved and he frequently expressed frustrations about the process.
Ronny’s home environment was chaotic and unstructured, and he was, at times, quite difficult to manage and prone to angry outbursts.
This challenging pattern of behaviour had been present for at least three years.
As an adult, Ronny’s lifestyle was unconventional. Whilst he had worked for most of his adult life, he did not enjoy traditional jobs.
He favoured craft activities, instead, to make money or, if income was limited, would undertake short-term labourer contracts.
He was also an active member of a well-known biker organisation.
Since the accident, however, he had been unable to engage in activities as much as he used to due to fatigue and physical limitations.
The first step…
The first step for our OT was to capture Ronny’s view of his world; to look ‘with different glasses’ at what motivated or spurred him on to engage in activities.
Motivation guides the choices we make and how we behave, so it was crucial from the outset to discover this.
It would, after all, also influence his answer to the question: “Am I going to engage in the rehabilitation plan or not?”
Ronny’s view of himself had changed since his brain injury.
He placed great value on self-reliance but could no longer work to provide money to pay for items for himself and his family.
He was unable to fully take part in leisure activities he had previously enjoyed, including motorbike riding with his club and “handyman” jobs.
At home, his practical, organisational and self-management skills were poor, and he would often avoid tasks by putting them off until another day.
And outside of his home, in the community, Ronny expressed feelings of high anxiety, particularly in busy and noisy environments.
His patterns of behaviour overall indicated that Ronny was struggling with his situation and day-to-day challenges.
When asked, in fact, how he himself thought he was managing, he stated he felt he “lacked in skills” to support himself.
But was Ronny open to change? Did he have an interest in extending his range of activities? And, vitally, would he engage in the neuro occupational rehabilitation process?
Ronny’s story continues this week ... Read part 2 now
What the experts say - stress and anxiety advice for brain injury survivors during the Covid-19 pandemic. Turn off the news, engage with nature, practice mindfulness, stick to a routine and suss your stressors ...
More resources to help brain injury survivors and their families during Covid-19 here: Krysalis public resources