Kali Cavanaugh
October 2016
University of Virginia Health System
United States




We had a patient with a very troubled past, who was injured in a MVC with a resulting traumatic brain injury, on our unit for several months. This injury left him with very little short term memory, and a tendency toward violent, aggressive outbursts, as well as screaming and unpredictable behavior.
Kali worked on a very wonderful schedule for this patient, which was done with pictures and Velcro, rewards and consequences. The patient could easily look at the schedule and see a picture of a bath, for example, in the 0800 time slot and know what was expected at that time. Then he could also choose some "free time" activities, such as TV, music, outdoors and the staff and the patient could bargain for when these could happen during the day, rewarding his appropriate behavior. It took a great deal of time and effort to put this entire program together, and it helped provide some structure and organization to a patient who had neither. In addition, she volunteered to care for this patient for several days in a row so that she could implement the schedule and teach the family how to use it as well. Considering his violent nature, Kali's volunteering for his care for several days was above and beyond the call of duty!
Not only did Kali help this patient, his family and the rest of the staff with her creative, colorful and fun schedule, she also taught the staff the value of providing this structure for other patients with traumatic brain injury. The therapists and other team members all benefitted from her wonderful and thoughtful project for this unfortunate young man!