EVALUATION OF A STRUCTURED GROUP FORMAT MEMORY REHABILITATION PROGRAM FOR ADULTS FOLLOWING BRAIN INJURY
 
Thickpenny, K., University of Auckland, New Zealand
 
Memory impairments frequently follow traumatic brain injury (TBI) and cerebral vascular accident (CVA). Memory deficits have a profound impact on the capacity to engage in rehabilitation and independent living. This study evaluated the effectiveness of an 8-session structured group format memory rehabilitation program for adults following TBI and CVA. Fourteen participants aged 16 to 50 years were randomly assigned to either wait list control or experimental groups. Neuropsychological assessments of memory and memory related performance (i.e., verbal recall, visual recall, attention), and measures assessing functional and everyday memory were administered before the wait list (where applicable), before treatment, after treatment and at one-month follow-up. Results indicate that participation in the Memory Group significantly increased participants' knowledge of memory and memory strategies; significantly increased participants' use of memory aids and strategies as rated by participants and significant others; and significantly reduced behaviours indicative of memory impairment as rated by participants and significant others. Participation in the Memory Group also had a positive effect on participant performance on selected neuropsychological assessments of memory and memory related performance (i.e., California Verbal Learning Test: Long Delay Free Recall; Visual Paired Associates Subtest: Delayed; Logical Memory Subtest: Immediate and Delayed; and on a measure of visual attention response time). All significant improvements outlined above exceeded those experienced by waiting-list controls. The positive effects of the group were maintained one-month after participation in the group. Clinical implications and future research will be discussed.