Skills for life – evaluation of a group intervention for brain injury survivors

Mia Foxhall (Assistant Psychologist, based at Neuropsychology Department, Brain Injury Service, Dorset HealthCare University Foundation Trust, Poole, UK)
Birgit Gurr (Clinical Neuropsychologist, based at Neuropsychology Department, Brain Injury Service, Dorset HealthCare University Foundation Trust, Poole, UK)

Social Care and Neurodisability

ISSN: 2042-0919

Publication date: 4 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate a weekly, group-based occupational therapy (OT) intervention in an inpatient brain injury rehabilitation unit. The evaluation aims to assess whether this intervention incorporates evidence-based recommendations for executive functioning and positive social interactions.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review was carried out to identify those components deemed most effective for improvements of executive functions and group interventions. Systematic observations of the intervention were used to collect data matching the research requirements. The group intervention which was subject to the evaluation was a weekly OT activity called Life Skills Group. Participants were four brain injured patients, aged between 49 and 62 years and on average 4.5 month post injury. The group activities included the preparation, cooking and consuming of a meal.

Findings

Some elements of evidence-based procedure for executive functioning training were observed, including repeated practice and errorless learning. The group provided opportunities for social interaction and peer support/modelling. The evaluation indicated opportunities for improving executive functions within the Life Skills Group setting, for instance, the consistent use of errorless practice, repetition and meta-strategy training. Social interventions were mainly initiated by the facilitation therapists and opportunities for social skills training and positive interactions between participants were overlooked. The evaluation concludes in a set of recommendations aimed at optimising the effectiveness of future groups.

Originality/value

This paper gives an example how the use of research evidence can influence and optimise cognitive rehabilitation, social training and group interventions. Thus it is an attempt to highlight how occupational interventions and social interactions can be improved by a systematic evaluation. The evaluation provides a framework for how OT and social interventions can be planned, implemented and researched which will hopefully increase systematic outcomes studies in this field in the future.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors want to express their thanks to Emilie Hannam, Occupational Therapist, whose enthusiam for the project resulted in a substantial improvement of the Life Skills Group and emphasised the value of our interdisciplinary collaboration.

Citation

Foxhall, M. and Gurr, B. (2014), "Skills for life – evaluation of a group intervention for brain injury survivors", Social Care and Neurodisability, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 214-222. https://doi.org/10.1108/SCN-07-2014-0013

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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