Local Expert on Brain Injuries Explains the Rehabilitation Congresswoman Giffords will Endure

Samuel Merritt University

Media Relations Contact:

Elizabeth Valente, 510.725.7980

January 20, 2011

Local Expert on Brain Injuries Explains the Rehabilitation

Congresswoman Giffords will Endure

(OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 20, 2011)  Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, wounded in the Tucson shootings, is improving and will receive physical, occupational and speech therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, according to news reports.

"Those who have survived injuries such as Giffords' are good candidates for occupational therapy with cognitive rehabilitation, "said Dr. Gordon Giles, professor of the Master of Occupational Therapy Department at Samuel Merritt University

Dr. Giles, well-known researcher in addressing brain injuries, says an individual can progress in rehabilitation in which occupational therapists challenge the patient with gradually more complex functional behaviors.  This is believed to promote recovery and to stimulate use dependent neurological restructuring.

"Early in rehabilitation the client is likely to find simply sitting upright difficult.  As the person progressing activities such as self-feeding, bathing and dressing and finding ones way around a new environment can be challenging,” said Dr. Giles.  "Occupational therapist work with patients with brain injury from coma to community and are involved in helping individuals in resuming functional activities as they progress into the home-setting."

Occupational therapy uses meaningful activities to promote individual's participation in personal occupations, such as activities of daily living (ADL), work, play, and leisure.  Samuel Merritt University is hosting its annual free Occupational Therapy Clinic for adults.  The ten, once-a-week sessions begin Monday, January 31.

Dr. Giles is available for interviews regarding brain injuries and receiving rehabilitation through occupational therapy.  For more information contact Elizabeth Valente, media relations director at 510.725.7980 or evalente@samuelmerritt.edu. 

Samuel Merritt University, located in Oakland, California, has been educating health science practitioners who are committed to making a positive difference in diverse communities since 1909.  Nearly 1,400 students are enrolled at SMU, with campuses in Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Mateo.  The University offers an undergraduate degree in nursing; master's and doctoral degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, physician assistant; and doctoral degrees in physical therapy and podiatric medicine.  For more information visit www.samuelmerritt.edu.

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