Putting the pieces back together

Following a brain injury, Maura Brisbane put her faith in the Rehabilitation Program team as she worked to rebuild her life.

“Having a brain injury feels like none of the pieces connect anymore,” says Maura Brisbane who received care through St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation Program. “It’s like when you shake a snow globe and the sparkling snow swirls through the globe before settling somewhere completely new.”

Maura says she felt like a shell of herself following her injury. She was someone who worked full-time, would row, worked out in the gym, volunteered in the community and regularly walked about four kilometres a day. But that all changed after the injury.

A woman lifts a dumbell with care provider's guidance
With the use of donor-funded specialized equipment, the Rehabilitation Team is able to help patients like Maura Brisbane recover from their injuries.

It took her a few months to realize the full impact the injury was having on her life. And after a growing lack of concentration, she was referred to the BrainEx90 program at Parkwood Institute.

BrainEx90 is a 16-week treatment program, which includes a 90-minute weekly circuit. Using specialized equipment, physiotherapists and occupational therapists work on skills like self-management, vision rehabilitation, vestibular rehabilitation, balance and core stability, and cognitive rehabilitation.

The care team works closely with patients through all aspects of their recovery and encourages them because the road may be slow, long and frustrating. Part of the process is helping patients to adapt to living with their injury while simultaneously working toward overcoming it.

For all patients, the whole process begins with an assessment when care teams explain how the injury is affecting their brains and provides information about the strategies and exercises that can help them recover. Often this is the hope that patients need.

It was for Maura.

At her first appointment, Maura immediately felt the empathy, support and understanding she was hoping and looking for. Two team members have stayed with her throughout her care journey - Stacia Bates a physiotherapist and Monica Collins an occupational therapist.

“A brain injury is an invisible injury on the surface,” says Stacia. “Many people feel alone.”

three women standing together in gym
Maura Brisbane (middle) embraces Monica Collins (left) and Stacia Bates (right) in the rehabilitation gym at Parkwood Institute's Main Building after receiving care in the BrainEx90 16-week treatment program.

“And it takes so much away from the person,” adds Monica. “We focus therapy on returning patients to the activities that bring meaning back to their lives.”

Stacia and Monica say they are a small part of each patient’s journey, but what the patient learns from them will help them for the rest of their life.

“BrainEx90 is really an amazing group,” says Maura. “I’ve really had to learn how to pace myself. Week by week, I feel myself getting stronger. I know my life is not over because of my injury thanks to the team at the rehab program.”

St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation proudly supports the Rehabilitation Program raising funds for specialized equipment such as exercise bikes and cognitive tests. You can make a donation in support of the Rehabilitation Program today.

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