Uber Comes to Brain Injury Rehabilitation

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Written by Rolf B. Gainer, PhD & Dan Harren

Uber has brought about big changes in access to transportation and businesses modeled after Uber are springing up in areas like: grocery shopping, personal services in the home and even in law and medicine. Can Community-based brain injury rehabilitation services be “”Uber-ized”?

Well, rehabilitation services in the person’s home, community, school or workplace which have been around for years and have been recognized as an important clinical strategy in addressing the functional problems that people experience after brain injury are exactly the Uber model. The services target specific problems which affect a person’s functioning and the rehabilitation professionals tailor the strategies that the person needs to address those problems where they are occurring and can monitor their success in a real-time environment.  Check out the “5 Ways to Make Rehab Last” which details the importance of durability of outcomes and “hits the nail right on the head”. Through service delivered in the home, community, school or workplace we can increase the effectiveness of adaptive strategies and techniques and support the person’s acquisition and mastery of those skills. If the goals of rehabilitation are to promote greater functional independence, what better place to design and implement the solution can there be but in the person’s home and community environments?  Rehabilitation therapies which are solely office or clinic based fall short of the mark in addressing the real life areas where people with brain injuries experience problems. And, to further progress towards independence doing real-life activities of one’s choosing with the support and expertise of rehabilitation professionals offers a greater likelihood of those skills lasting beyond the end of rehabilitation.

Uber has become so successful because it does not operate under the same restrictions and modalities that the rest of the transportation industry does; therefore Uber as a service can be more nimble and is able to provide the customer exactly what they want. While an institution-based rehab program has many benefits, there are also many rules, regulations, and hospital practices that get in the way of devising and implementing truly individualized rehab programming.

By providing rehabilitation in the community, rehab providers are able to give the patient services that are tailored to their needs in the real world. And changes to programming can be made in a day; this is something that most hospitals simply cannot achieve. The ability to be flexible and responsive is crucial to providing good rehab.

The resources available for brain injury rehabilitation are becoming more limited in many ways. As rehabilitation professionals, we need to be innovative and practical in our thinking. People in cities, both large and small, are using Uber to get around, and saving money on transportation. Community-based brain injury rehabilitation services are the Uber of rehab. They offer practical, cost effective solutions. Let’s call Uber-rehab!

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