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Ann-Charlotte Kassberg disp
Ann-Charlotte Kassberg is an industry-employed PhD student and has defended her thesis in occupational therapy. Photo: Kerstin Lindstrom, NLL View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Ability to use technology after brain injury

Published: 23 April 2015

Ann-Charlotte Kassberg has recently doctorated in the subject occupational therapy at Luleå University of technology. She has studied the ability to use everyday technology after acquired brain injury, with a focus on work.
– It has been very interesting and exciting. I have learned a lot. Above all, we must consider the role technology provide for assessment of rehabilitation needs in acquired brain injury.

Ann-Charlotte Kassberg study how everyday technology provides both opportunities and obstacles when persons with acquired brain injury return to work.
– We've found some studies done in the past where they looked at technology in the home and the community, but not exactly how the role of technology affects the ability to return to work after acquired brain injury.

Consider the role of technology

The studies show that the use of everyday technologies presents different challenges and can have varying significance for people with acquired brain injury when they return to work. Her research indicates that there is a need to take into account the role of what everyday technology can provide for these people.

Depending on the severity of the disability is the ability to use technology variable. The study involved 81 people aged 18-64 years.

– It surprised me that no other factors mattered. Age, gender, education or living conditions had no meaning, only disability severity played a significant role, says Ann-Charlotte Kassberg.

Interventions assess ability to work

Ann-Charlotte Kassberg has also designed occupational therapy interventions to support the ability to use everyday technology at work after acquired brain injury.
– The interventions may also be useful for other actors, such as employment services and the social insurance. They also need to consider the role of the increased use of technology in the workplace, and its impact on the work capability for persons with acquired brain injury.

The intervention may consist of changes in work tasks with technology, that adjusts both the personal and environmental conditions. Interventions may also include replacement of items and services, strategies and pedagogical support in the accomplishment of tasks with technology.

The participants were observed when they used the technology and the persons were free to tell what they experienced as difficult in the use of technology at work. They were also involved in the formulation of their personal goals, and together with the occupational therapist four or five goals for each participant were conceived. Together they decide how these goals would be achieved.
– It is very important to get the employer on board early in the process as they determine what adjustments can be made, says Ann-Charlotte Kassberg.