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Work-related considerations for people with brain injuries

A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can affect a person in many areas: behaviorally, cognitively and physically, to name just three. Often, the repercussions are long-lasting and come with long-term considerations. Here is a look at some of the things you should keep in mind when you or a loved one returns to work.

The American with Disabilities Act probably applies

In many cases, the ADA covers conditions such as brain injuries. Sometimes, the solutions are relatively simple; for example, if you have TBI and need more light, you can switch offices with someone who has a space with a lot of windows. Speech recognition software, frequent breaks and large-print day planners are other solutions to common TBI-related problems.

Job coaches can help employees understand which accommodations to seek. They can also help employers accommodate employees' needs fairly, legally and safely.

Routine helps

Getting into a routine, both at home and work, can help you succeed. For instance, if you use a stapler frequently in your work, but coworkers tend to borrow it without asking, you may be frustrated when you search for the stapler and cannot find it. It is important to explain to employers the importance of seemingly small things and how they can help promote a sense of routine.

Plan for lunch and snacks

The act of fixing lunches and snacks ahead of time, say, the night before work, is critical in building routine. If you're helping a loved one with TBI, encourage his or her independence by allowing him or her to make lunch and snacks. However, do:

  • Keep all lunch and snack items in the same areas in the fridge and cabinet.
  • Have index cards that describe the steps that go into prepping each meal.
  • Ensure that the kitchen is safe for meal assembly.
  • Start with simpler meals such as sandwiches and prepackaged fruit or chips.

Sending someone who has TBI to work with leftovers? Include freezing and/or reheating instructions on the packages; commercially made frozen meals can be a good alternative to at-home meal prep, too.

Emergency information should be handy

It may be helpful for people at work such as human resources personnel and direct supervisors to have emergency information on hand. Doctors, their contact information, medications and contact numbers for relatives are examples of the type of information you could supply.

When you or a loved one has a TBI, returning to work can be tricky. In fact, if you believe that your earnings potential has been diminished, getting in touch with an attorney may be a good idea.

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