Bob Lamperd, Occupational Therapist at Headway Thames Valley, tackles insight and awareness following brain injury in this Clinical Corner.
“Of all the difficulties that follow brain injury, perhaps the most disconcerting are problems with insight and awareness. After injury, there may be little or no realisation of the deficits caused by the trauma. So, in the weeks following hospitalisation, people often do not recognise the problems they may well have with attention, memory, thinking skills and in some instances even with a physical paralysis. This lack of awareness of the changes often greatly limits any recovery.
“These problems with insight and awareness are very difficult to address. Telling someone how they have changed is often not helpful. Professionals will often use assessments and tests to indicate the nature and degree of deficit. This gives the person knowledge of the problem and invariably gives them intellectual awareness of their difficulties. However, this may not translate into how they function day to day. What really does appear to promote awareness and insight is their direct engagement with the ‘real’ world and their reflections of their experiences.
“When they gain awareness and insight this is the time when they will often self-refer to Headway Thames Valley and ask for help. Headway’s clinical team do their best to advise support and educate clients at this critical time.”
– Bob Lamperd