Oct. 01, 2015
When a person experiences a concussion or brain injury, it can be difficult to return to a normal routine because symptoms, including a loss of energy, headaches, dizziness, mood changes and cognitive struggles (brain fog), can become so severe they are forced to stop what they’re doing.
Therapists at St. Joseph’s Parkwood Institute have developed a system to help manage these symptoms called a Pacing Points Program as part of the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) outpatient services. The individual rates each of their tasks with a point value (based on difficulty) and is given a limit of how many points they can use in a day with the goal of gradually returning to full-function.
The next step for the program is to use an application (app) to help people track their points using smart phones and/or tablets. Occupational therapist Becky Moran explains that the benefits of using an app will help people to log their points, schedule their activities in a calendar, track their progress and receive a warning ring when they’ve neared their maximum points for the day.
"Pacing and planning is the first thing we teach patients and something we revisit throughout their rehabilitation,” says Moran. “An app would help people move towards self-management and enable independence once their rehabilitation is complete."
Former patient, Rob Staffen, was so inspired by the care he received at Parkwood Institute after his cycling accident that his family created the Brain & Mind Matters Community Fund (BAMM) with the Stratford Perth Community Foundation to support outpatient care for people living with the effects of traumatic brain injury and mental illness in Perth County, Stratford and St. Marys. One way they are helping their community is by supporting Parkwood Institute’s outpatient care programs for those with a brain injury in concert with Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance.
This year BAMM hosted its second successful golf tournament in St. Marys on September 25. With the proceeds raised from the community event (including a generous gift from the Cowan Foundation) the BAMM fund will donate $17,500 to help launch the app at Parkwood Institute. The potential of the app to support outpatients with their recovery also inspired an unexpected $8,750 gift from St. Marys Memorial Hospital Foundation.
“We are very grateful for the Staffen family, who are making health care innovation and discoveries possible through their community fund,” says Julie Gilvesy, director of rehabilitation at Parkwood Institute. “The app will help people who come to St. Joseph’s for care from across Southwestern Ontario, and become an important tool for all patients affected by brain injuries.”
St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation gathers, grows and grants philanthropic funds to enable St. Joseph’s Health Care London to pursue excellence in care, teaching and research. Through donor support, the foundation contributes to advances in the delivery of patient care, specialized equipment, research initiatives and capital funds at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Institute, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care, Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care and Lawson Health Research Institute. As one of the largest charitable organizations in Southwestern Ontario, St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation is an accredited member of Imagine Canada’s Ethical Trustmark Program, which recognizes the foundation’s commitment to ethical fundraising and donor accountability.