Community Reintegration Reimagined:
TBI Clients at This Neuro Rehab Company Are Living and Working Independently Again
One southeast Michigan company is reinventing neuro rehab for clients with traumatic and acquired brain injuries. Life Skills Village leverages a holistic and goal-oriented approach to community reintegration that helps clients return to their lives as independent, functional and purposeful people.
Proof of their success can be found in their client outcomes. In the past year, Life Skills Village therapists have helped clients achieve major life and rehab goals including:
Return to work in both supported and competitive environments
Complete high school and college
Move into independent and semi-independent residences
Create a TBI/bicycle safety awareness presentation for local students
Get drivers’ licenses
Manage their own finances
Founded by Dr. Bryan Weinstein, a neuropsychiatrist specializing in brain injury, Life Skills Village is the answer to a rehab business environment more focused on keeping patients in treatment than in their recovery. The phenomenon of “learned helplessness” refers to the state of patients who – even after they’ve improved functionally – believe they need a much more comprehensive (and expensive) level of care than they require.
“Patients can become so reliant on caregivers that they no longer believe they’re capable of their own independence,” explains Dr. Weinstein. “I wanted to create a rehab environment that promoted the exact opposite – function and independence.”
So that’s exactly what he did.
Life Skills Village in Oak Park, Michigan is an 11,000 square foot treatment center designed to engage clients individually and socially in an indoor “Village,” which features a cafe, market, adaptive exercise studio, library, theater, vocational skills retraining workshop, recreational room and even a park.
In this singular environment, Life Skills Village offers a Community Reintegration Day Program, multiple Vocational Programs and even social activities for the larger southeast Michigan TBI community.
Dr. David Cowan, Clinical Director and neuropsychologist, points to two factors behind the company’s success, “Ethical treatment and trans-disciplinary therapies are two big reasons why our clients have such extraordinary outcomes.” The company’s trans-disciplinary approach includes psychiatry, psychology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, social work, case management and even art, music and recreational therapy.
In the Community Reintegration Day Program clients work both one-on-one with therapists and in groups. During this time, Dr. Weinstein’s holistic treatment philosophy is manifested by several programming modules:
BrainLife modules are designed to restore cognitive function. Therapies include: occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, cognitive rehabilitation, cognitive behavioral therapy, supportive psychotherapy, mindfulness training, brain injury education and even art and music therapy.
LivingLife modules help clients relearn “everyday” activities like home and money management, shopping, exercise, medication management, nutrition and meal preparation.
SociaLife prepares clients to rejoin their community through education, training and rehearsing skills such as self-monitoring, self-actualization, socialization and relationship building. These are reinforced during community and social activities.
Finally, the CommunityLife modules help clients overcome any barriers preventing them from rejoining society. This will vary from client to client, but generally includes vocational rehab, community mobility training, academic preparation and even lifestyle fulfillment activities.
“In the day program, we help clients focus on their abilities rather than their deficits. We engage them in therapy by focusing on their personal rehab goals. For example, a client in our day program can also participate in our vocational, recreational and residential programs,” offers Jeff Wilbur, Clinical Director and founder.
Life Skills Village vocational programs offers several options to help clients return to their previous employment or find meaningful, paying work. Their Sheltered Workshop employs clients to help non-profit organizations such as Gleaners Food Bank, Arts & Scraps and Southwest Solutions among others. “We like our clients to see the positive results of their labor. By helping others, they help themselves find purpose in work and rehabilitation,” explains Wilbur. “We also offer supported employment with or without a job coach and help clients to start their own ‘micro-businesses.’”
Rehab isn’t all about therapy and work at Life Skills Village. “We offer events and activities every Thursday that are open to our clients as well as anyone with a brain injury. This is the ideal time for our clients to practice the skills learned here as well as to spend time with others who understand the struggle of life with a brain injury. Events by date are posted on our Activities Calendar at LifeSkillsVillage.com,” notes Drew Bufalini, Chief Marketing Officer.
Life Skills Residential offers a supervised apartment program that is ideal for clients in transition. Each client lives in his or her own furnished two-bedroom apartment with personnel staffing the building 24/7. Attendant care services are also available. With video monitoring and regular health and safety checks, clients are afforded “independence with oversight.” Nate Gardin, founder and Chief Operations Officer says, “Life Skills Residential is meant to complement any rehab program. Everything our clients learn during the day program is reinforced in the home environment.”
While these services combine to form a comprehensive continuum of care, the ultimate goal is for clients to leave the program. Dr. Weinstein adds, “No one wants to spend life in rehab. Our clients come here so they can, one day, complete their rehab and live life again!”
For more information, please call 248.788.4300 or visit LifeSkillsVillage.com.