Two million traumatic brain injuries are reported every year, and every five seconds, someone sustains a permanently disabling head injury, according to The Center for Head Injury Services.
Roughly 70,000 to 90,000 people who survive traumatic brain injuries will develop lifelong disabilities, requiring them to learn new methods for communicating and performing other mental and physical functions.
Fortunately, new technology enables brain injury survivors to find new ways to cope with daily life, which may entail short-term memory loss, communication problems and socialization issues, in addition to anxiety, behavioral and organizational challenges.
Dr. Bryan Weinstein of Life Skills Village offers information about several apps he has reviewed that help brain injury patients deal with social, emotional, functional and cognitive hurdles.
The reminders and timers in this app can help people who have trouble with short-term memory by allowing a list of tasks to be created with several reminders and different tones for each task. Lists can be customized and duplicate emails sent for automatic creation of a “to do” list. A timer also helps the patient program the app.
A free app is available in iOS and for Android as “Lists Alarmed!”
This app provides audio diaphragmatic breathing exercises and is useful for brain injury patients who need to relax and stabilize their mood, control anger and reduce anxiety. The user simply registers their stress level on the app, then follows instructions for breathing to regain a sense of calm. This app is free and offered in iOS and Android.
Clear Record Premium
Using this app, a patient can record conversations anywhere and play them back at a speed and volume to understand what was said. In contrast to other voice-recording apps, this one filters outside sounds to make the recording clearer.
Costs run from 99 cents to $1.99 in iOS based on upgrades, while the Android counterpart called AndRecord is free.
Excellent for non-verbal patients to reduce communication struggles, it provides two large, color-coded buttons. A green button indicates “yes” and red signifies “no,” enabling the user to vocalize decisions by pressing one or the other. This app is $1.99 in iOS and Android versions.
Cozi Family Organizer
Designed to eliminate confusion, this app helps families work together with a shared calendar, shopping lists and to do lists, enabling everyone to keep up with tasks and cut down on frustration.
This app is offered free of charge with a paid version for advanced functions in iOS and Android versions.
For people with physical limitations, this mass media tool is excellent for communication, recognizing your voice and transcribing your words into text messages, emails and social media updates.
Dragon is offered free in iOS and Android versions.
In Case of Emergency
This app stores a person’s important medical information in one location, making it easier for medical personnel and doctors to locate it during emergency situations. It also helps find nearby hospitals.
The cost for this app i $1.99 in iOS and Android versions.
Social Skills Sampler
For those who have trouble with social skills, this app offers 62 common topics and offers users a brief video modeling the correct behavior in different situations. Some of the topics are: meeting/greeting, responsibility, politeness, joining groups, apologizing and excusing yourself, following directions and dealing with criticism.
It is free in iOS and the Android counterpart is Habit Browser.
Keep It Green Habit Maker
Designed to help patients form good habits, this app focuses on becoming organized, tracking progress and staying motivated. The patient can use a color code to set priorities for the habits they want to develop. Automatic prioritization of tasks or habits is available as well. This should be used with a therapist or caregiver helping set priority levels for different tasks and habits. It is offered free in iOS.
By synchronizing ideas on several devices, EverNote improves memory, organization skills and creativity, enabling users to take notes and photos, make to-do lists and record voice reminders. For people struggling with short-term memory, the search function can be a big help.
It is offered free in iOS, Android and web versions.
Spaced Retrieval Therapy
This is a scientifically-proven method for recalling names, facts and other information with the user’s voice, in addition to the routines of multiple people. It allows brain injury patients to go over memory skills recalling answers at expanding time intervals such as every one, two, four and eight minutes. It is intended for use with therapy only.
It is available for $3.99 on iOS. Complete Memory Training Games is a good free substitute in Android but it doesn’t offer space retrieval therapy.
Brainscape – Smart Flashcards
From geography to vocabulary, this app uses a set of smart digital flashcards that are color-coded to help the user improve recall by asking them to indicate prior knowledge of answers. If the user doesn’t understand or give the right answer, the questions are repeated more frequently until the patient masters the subject.
This is offered free to $9.99 for in-app purchases in iOS and Android.
Apps labeled iOS are available at Apple App Store, and those for Android are at Google Play or Amazon Appstore for Android.
The recovery from a serious brain injury involves many steps. One important step is planning for your future financially and maximizing the insurance compensation provided to cover medical costs and therapy. If you or a loved one sustained a serious brain injury in an accident caused by another in North Carolina, talk to an NC personal injury attorney about your legal options for obtaining full compensation.