Our Medical Advisors
||Bill Levinger, MD
and, head injury survivor
||Hugh R. MacMahon, MD
Neurology, Sea, WA
"Brain damage rarely affects just one of these systems. Rather, the
disruptive effects of most brain injuries, regardless of their size or
location, usually involve all three systems."
-- Source: Neuropsychological Assessment, 2nd Ed., 1983,
Muriel D. Lezak
damage gets in the way of the ability to store, process, accumulate, and
retrieve information. It also interferes with the ability to control
emotions, to benefit from experience, to learn new information, and to
be sensitive to the emotional needs of others.
are in the early stages of a transformation that will lead to the real
practitioners of medicine --being the lay person in the family, and
in the community-- and we health professionals can be coaches
and supporters of self-care."
-- Tom Ferguson, MD
of Medical Self Care Magazine;
Editor of the Millennium Whole-health Catalogue;
of Health On-Line, Addison Wesley, 1996
About the Brain Injury Checklist
There is nothing magical about the Brain Injury Checklist --
it is simply a self-assessment tool -- but a very helpful one
since it can be used to track and measure your impairments as well as your
improvements over time. It can help you prepare for doctor visits by identifying
neuropsychological difficulties that you wish to discuss with your doctor.
Additionally, it can be used to track things that are not especially problematic,
but you want to change in yourself.
Important details to report concerning such
problems include: when the problem began, or what caused you
to notice it; what was going on at the time; what do you think may have
brought it on; what did you do about it; what made it worse; what made
it better; has it improved; has it remained the same; do you notice it
all of the time, or is it intermittent, how much does it interfere with
your ability to function.
Everyone who decides to do something in this area basically wants things
to be different (better) which means that in some way and to some degree
the person is unhappy with him or herself, with life or with both. People
can be roughly divided into those who experience emotional pain or upheaval
with things the way they are and those who although not deeply unhappy
or emotionally trapped have a desire for things to be better and for life
to be more satisfying.
Developing an awareness of the problem is the first step in the process
of change, the Brain Injury Checklist will increase your awareness
of your neuropsychological impairments. The next step is to develop a plan
that you will use as a road map for achieving your rehabilitation goals.
Planning forms in subsequent sections of this site will provide additional
The well crafted plan will include a description of nature of
the problem. Additionally, it should explore a few, well considered courses
of action, along with your proposed destination, and what you intend to
do to reach it.
Brain Injury Check List
is a list of impairments that commonly result from brain injury. The number
and type of items that you will check-off will depend on the type and scope
of damage that you susstained. Some individuals will experience impairments
that are spread over many sytems. While others will be limited to a few
sytems. The Brain Injury Checklist was designed to prepare you to
identify and track such impairments in yourself. The Brain Injury Checklist
will help you to prepare for doctor visits by identifying problems or patterns
that you wish to discuss with your doctor. Additionally, it can be used
to track things that are not especially problematic, but you want to change
Important Note: While the appearance
of such symptoms can be worrisome, rest assured that they will get better
over time. You should notice progressive improvements especially
if you actively work at getting better. The forms in this section
will help you increase your self awareness and help you chart your progress
and set backs.
Non-credit, remedial course work in basic skills
will help refresh your memory and help restore you intellectual skills.
Telecourses can help you rebuild skills at your own pace in the privacy
of your home. Frequently, such telecourse are available from your
public library, and can be ordered over the phone, and delivered to your
home free of charge.
Working the brain in this way after a brain injury
can involve a certain amount of discomfort, anxiety and dread. Additionally,
you might find that learning, thinking, or doing things takes more effort,
and more energy than it did before your brain injury. You might find
that you feel overwhelming fatigue following any type of mental or physical
exertion. When such symptoms appear, don't despair, take a break,
to refresh yourself and hit it again later.
This type of experience can be very discouraging,
however, don't let it get you down, the rewards of such activities are
well worth any negative emotions that you initially might feel. Because
you might be more susceptible to fatigue and depression, remember to pace
yourself. Be mindful of your diet and water intake.
Hunger, thirst, and fatigue can tax your brain and cause your symptoms
to worsen. However appropriate rest and refreshment can restore
your functioning. Use our Wellness
Inventory to track your diet, exercise and water intake as erll
as your feeling states.
Instructions: The following
is a partial list of neuropsychological impairments caused by brain injury.
First, print this form. Next, place a check mark beside each impairment
that you noticed in your self in the past 24 hours. Then, on a
of 0 to 4 rate the effect of the impairment on you during
the past 24 hours. For example: 0
= not present; 1 = minimal, present
but does not interfere with activities; 2 =
mild, some effect, interferes with activities but not disabling;
= moderate, greatly interferes with activities; and a score of 4
= extremely disabling, unable to function.
Next, write down what you did about the impairments that
you scored 2, 3 , or 4. For
example, took a nap, practiced deep breathing or deep relaxation exercises;
stepped back from the situation to gain perspective; confided in
a trusted, knowledgeable friend or family member; spoke with a health
care professional, re-priortized or rearranged your schedule; scapegoated
an innocent bystander; self medicated with drugs, alcohol, or other substances;
acted on impulse.
Additionally, take note of what you were doing when
you noticed your impairments. For instance, you might have noticed
them as you were dealing an with especially stressful situation.
Then, at other times they might have gotten in the way of simple everyday
On some days you might experience a great number of the
more troublesome impairments and find yourself totally dysfunctional as
a result. Then, on other days you might be symptom free, and highly
functional. Such a pattern is a common feature of neuropsychological disorders
due to brain injury.
This type of variation is all the more reason to
utilize this check list to track and measure the impairments that are problematic
for you. If used properly, it will increase your awareness
of your difficulties as well as those things that make them better and
those that make them worse. In so doing you will become empowered
to change your life for the better.
each impairment that you noticed in the past 24-hours -- "Score"
each impairment 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4; -- Then record what you did about it
in the "note " column.)
here or scroll down to see Checklist