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Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (RHI): Brain Injury Coping Skills Group
By Samantha Backhaus, PhD, HSPP, Clinical Neuropsychologist and Associate Director of Outpatient Neuropsychological Services, Departments of Rehabilitation Neuropsychology, Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana
The Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana (RHI) in Indianapolis is currently offering a nationally-recognized intervention to individuals with brain injury and their families to help them better adjust and adapt to the myriad of challenges for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) presents.
In 2006, our team developed a coping skills program to address TBI’s long-term physical, cognitive, and emotional challenges. The program’s inspiration was the case of pediatrician Lisa Thompson, MD, who, in 2005, committed suicide five years after a TBI, leaving a grieving extended family. Knowing that awareness of the long-term effects of TBI was lacking in Lisa’s case, RHI made it a mission to provide adequate education and support to survivors of brain injury and their families to help them better adjust to the injury. Donations to the Dr. Lisa Thompson Fund in the RHI Foundation provided financial support for pertinent clinical and research programs.
Brain Injury Coping Skills (BICS) is a 12-16 week, small group intervention (5-7 patients plus their caregivers), that meets once weekly for two hours and systematically addresses a number of topics (see below).
|BICS Group Topics|
Through support from the RHI Foundation/Dr. Lisa Thompson Fund, my colleagues and I designed a multi-centered research study comparing the effects of BICS intervention to standard outpatient rehabilitation (control group). BICS study participants developed significantly better perceived self-efficacy than the control group and maintained these gains for at least three months. This self-efficacy could serve as a protective factor for individuals experiencing daily struggles and setbacks. The control group became significantly worse over time. This suggested that while individuals can often initially make spontaneous gains early in their recovery, if they do not receive the proper treatments, both the person with the injury and family members are likely to develop emotional difficulties as the recovery curve slows down.
A subsequent study funded by the Indiana State Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Fund replicated the initial findings comparing BICS to participation in a support group which served as the control. Participants in both groups made significant gains in self-efficacy, emotional control and regulation, and everyday problem-solving. However, those who received the BICS intervention were able to maintain their positive perceived self-efficacy over time, while those who did not continued to decline.
The BICS intervention has been taught and presented nationally through the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine as well as internationally in Norway and New Zealand. The BICS manual is published and distributed by Lash Publishing. It is RHI’s vision to not only develop and study the effects of cutting-edge clinical interventions but also to disseminate these findings.