The Caregiver's Journey

Assistive Devices

For people with TBI, it can be a challenge to accomplish daily tasks such as talking with friends, going to school and work, or participating in recreational activities. Assistive devices can make it easier for a person with a disability to manage these activities.

Assistive devices can be anything from simple to complex devices, such as:

  • A magnifying glass
  • A timer to remind the person when to take medications
  • A touch-fastener grip attached to a pen or fork for eating or writing
  • A PDA (Personal Data Assistant)
  • A special telephone that helps people with speech and hearing problems to communicate
  • Braces, splints
  • Canes, walkers, crutches
  • Calendar or memory notebook for tracking appointments, planning, organizing
  • Medical alert bracelet or emergency call system 
  • Eye patches, prism glasses 
  • Special beds

Keep the phone number for equipment companies available for emergencies or machine malfunctions.

Your family member with TBI will be evaluated during rehabilitation to see if assistive devices would enhance his or her independence and capabilities.

Find out if the devices being used during inpatient stays should be included in the discharge plan. Devices prescribed by a provider are more likely to be funded by the military, VA, or insurers.

Does my home need to be modified?

Home modifications may be relatively minor and inexpensive, such as installing grab bars, handrails, and lever handles. They may also be major and very expensive, such as:

  • Installing elevators or lifts 
  • Enlarging doorways to allow wheelchair passage 
  • Modifying kitchens for easier meal preparation 
  • Installing emergency communication systems

Don’t rush into major modifications because your service member/veteran’s needs may change over time.

Ask the healthcare team what, if anything, needs to be done to modify your home before your family member is discharged. You can plan other modifications as his or her rehabilitation continues.