After a neurological event such as an ABI what are some strategies to improve executive function? Be it to assist with achieving tasks at home or in the workplace?
Executive functions are a cluster of higher level cognitive skills which are believed to be mediated by the front lobes. According to Perna et al (2012) executive dysfunction is quite common following an acquired brain injury. People with executive dysfunction may commonly experience deficits with:
It’s likely executive dysfunction may have a direct impact on a person’s ability to complete instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) such as work, leisure, budgeting and driving for example. These tasks involve multiple sequences, are dynamic, non linear and may require various cognitive skills to be successfully completed.
Cicerone et al.(2000) reviewed 14 studies which were focused on executive function and problem solving. The recommendation arising form this review was,
training of formal problem-solving strategies and their application to everyday situations and functional activities
Within the acute and rehabilitation environments commonly a therapy focus is on improving other cognitive functions which impair activities of daily living (ADL).
As an occupational therapy service we’re inclined to treat people within the context of their everyday lives, within the community and it is likely many months or even years when we are engaged. We’re inclined to use tasks and familiar environments as the rehabilitation setting and for a person experiencing executive deficits this is important especially when treating self awareness.
Callaghn (2001) suggest the following strategies:
For the therapist and client the work environment offers a fantastic opportunity to
With an ageing population, vocational recovery will likely be a meaningful goal into tradition retirement years. No doubt this will create more demand for robust research which is translated into clinical applications.
The assistive technology environment offers remedial and enabling solutions though there is greater need for research to support practical rehabilitative techniques within the field of executive dysfunction for people residing in the community.
If you’re in a situation where you believe you’re experiencing executive dysfunction we encourage you to liaise with your doctor or therapist to plan a program suitable for your needs. The information in this blog posts serves as health promotion initiative only.
Alternatively, you can Contact Us or phone us at 1300 783 200 to discuss your situation.
The Occupational Therapy Blog is a news and health promotion initiative. It by no means aims to be a source of medical or therapeutic advice. We enjoy sharing information and will attempt to curate it as best we can. You’d appreciate we like to lighten our blog articles which often tackles very serious and personal issues. It’s our way of sharing. The information contained on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, or intervention. Always seek the advice of your GP or qualified therapist with any questions you may have regarding your personal situation. Never substitute or delay seeking professional advice because of information you’ve read on this website.