Sensory Training for Arousal Recovery by a Transdisciplinary Team (STARTT) for people with severe brain injury

Chantelle Bowles

1Brighton Brain Injury Service,

With advances in medicine, more young adults with severe brain injury with profound disturbances of consciousness are surviving and requiring rehabilitation. Currently, there are no published rehabilitation guidelines for clinicians to draw upon in their practice with this population.

To address this gap, the Brighton Brain Injury multidisciplinary team completed a comprehensive literature review into intervention to increase arousal in patients with severe brain injury. Consequently, the STARTT program was developed to integrate best practice into a coherent program.

STARTT develops individualised programs based around recorded familiar auditory stimulation. A family member retells a shared memory and the team adds referenced music, visual, somatosensory, olfactory and gustatory stimulation appropriate to the client’s needs. The program is prescribed by a multidisciplinary team, including Occupational Therapist, Speech Pathologist, Physiotherapist, Music Therapist, and Psychologist, as each participant will require varying degrees of stimulus within each sensory domain. This creates a personally relevant, enriched sensory experience which is then delivered intensively by team members and, where appropriate, by trained family members. STARTT streamlines intervention processes and increases staff capacity to deliver therapy by integrating goals.

To date, three patients have participated in the pilot program and will be presented as case studies illustrating STARTT and showing initial results. All three participants started the program at a minimally conscious state and have since emerged. Outcome measures include arousal, functional recovery, and goal attainment scale (GAS). Sustainability of the program in the workplace is being currently measured, with measures including staff surveys and family surveys. Funding has been recently sourced to ensure the program is sustainable as part of standard care and for gathering of sufficient clinical data to inform a single case study design research project for publication.


Biography: To be confirmed

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