During the first few weeks of admission the multidisciplinary team at Walkergate Park – i.e. medical staff, nursing staff, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, dietitian – will conduct their assessments and early interventions. The aim is to optimise the physical condition of your relative/friend and environmental factors. This is to ensure they are able to respond in the best possible way when assessing their level of consciousness.
Multidisciplinary assessment and management may cover any of the following areas:
- Health monitoring
- Spasticity management
- 24 hour seating and positioning
- Pain management
- Skin and pressure area management
- Bowel and bladder management
- Nutrition review and management
- Swallowing assessment
- Tracheostomy management (if indicated)
- Medical/pharmacological management
In addition, it is crucial to consider your relative/friend’s environment and daily activities. Patients with severe brain injury often demonstrate altered sleep/wake cycles and limited capacity for information processing. This means that they may be unable to make sense of too much sensory information at once, or get easily overwhelmed by constant stimulation. Therefore, the multidisciplinary team may consider implementing a structured timetable which includes both regular activities and rest periods.
Activities may include therapy interventions, personal care interventions, family/friends visiting, watching television or listening to music. Activities will be chosen during the
stimulation periods that are appropriate to your relative/friend’s likes and interests. Just as important as regular activities is the building in of regular rest periods throughout the day to alternate with activity times. Good quality rest can only be achieved if there is no stimulation at all, i.e. lying on the bed with no/minimal background noise, no music or television on.
There will be two SMART assessors working with your relative/friend – a speech and language therapist and an occupational therapist. They will arrange to meet with you to discuss the SMART process in more detail before commencing the assessment. They will be happy to answer any questions and concerns you may have at any time.
The SMART assessors will conduct screening assessments in order to determine whether a SMART assessment is indeed indicated, and they will liaise with the rest of the multidisciplinary team to decide the best time to commence the formal SMART assessment.