NVS Introduces Planning and Pacing Program
A new program at Northampton Vision Specialists helps patients safely resume their everyday activities while recovering from a brain injury, long-term illness or disability. “Many patients who have had a brain injury are told they need to rest, but they’re not often given any instruction on how they should come out of that rest,” occupational/vision therapist Karlyn Frye said.
According to Frye, this creates a situation where patients try to dive right back into their pre-injury activities, even though they aren’t quite ready. This begins a cycle that involves a worsening of the patient’s symptoms when they attempt to do too much too soon, followed by a “crash” period in which they need a day or two to recover. This cycle continues, creating feelings of frustration for the patient and their family, who often don’t feel as if they’re progressing quickly enough.
Through the Planning and Pacing program, however, patients will have an opportunity to return to activities at the appropriate time based on their level of recovery as they receive visual rehabilitation in our office. These treatments, which include Phototherapy-based Multi Sensory Training, Syntonics and Optometric Vision Therapy, result in the neural reorganization necessary to move forward with their lives. “Prior to coming in for a consultation, a patient will reflect on the activities they perform each day and make note of whether they trigger a mild, moderate or significant reaction,” Frye said. “We’ll then evaluate these symptoms and activities during their initial appointment.”
With the activities and symptoms tallied, Frye and the rest of the Northampton Vision Specialists team will assign point values to each of the patient’s daily activities. They will also provide a total point value allocation they should aim for each day. According to Frye, this helps patients plan their days more effectively, so they know just how much activity is safe for them to engage in without risking relapse or a delay in their overall recovery. Over time, the number of daily points they are allocated will increase to correspond with the patient’s stage of recovery and tolerance level. “It doesn’t take long for patients to learn how much they can do each day without triggering symptoms,” she said.
“As an occupational therapist and vision therapist, I am especially excited about this program, as much of my training is in analyzing and adapting tasks to encourage independence. By working with patients to plan and pace their activity levels, I’m able to help them better manage their symptoms and return to the activities they want, need or love to do.”