This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Changes in Memory After TBI. Dr. Angelle Sander discusses Memory Issues Impacting Other Health Problems.

Memory problems after traumatic brain injury can impact a person's ability to understand and follow through with medical instructions and to maintain proper health. So we know that people with traumatic brain injury also have a variety of other health problems, like hypertension, diabetes, and the memory problems inherent in the traumatic brain injury may actually affect their ability to manage those health problems.

So it is important for health providers to recognize that if someone has a traumatic brain injury, just telling them to do something may not be helpful. It's important to write information down for them, to give them medical instructions in written form and to have a caregiver present when possible to hear what is needed and required to help them maintain health.

David Arciniegas, M.D.: When persons with traumatic brain injuries are trying to manage the other medical problems that often come not only with injury but with aging, it's important for clinicians to know that that individual with memory after – memory problems after TBI may need a little more help than they're accustomed to giving other patients.

More help with medications and coming up with schedules and reminder systems to take medicines when they need to. With appointments. One of the best ways that we – in some of my clinics that we know somebody with a brain injury has memory problems is that they forget to come to their appointments. So having staff call ahead of time and outreaching a little more effectively to assure engagement can be really, really helpful.

Using memory books and encouraging the memory books that a rehab specialist has helped somebody with a brain injury develop to manage their medical care can also be important. Those memory books aren't just for the details of everyday life. They can be a saving grace for the management of complex medical issues in somebody who has memory problems after a brain injury.

Those sorts of strategies, using the rehab tools that we give people in their general healthcare, can improve the quality of their care and continued engagement with the medical system.

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