Can service dogs help traumatic brain injury patients?

People who suffer from traumatic brain injuries sometimes have lifelong disabilities that can make daily activities difficult. Some of these patients might benefit from having assistance with those activities. Help from other humans is one option, but some patients might prefer help from a service dog.

What are some ways that a service dog can help a TBI patient?

A service dog can help a TBI patient with physical limitations. Tasks that some people do without thinking, such as balancing while walking or picking up something they dropped can often be difficult for a person who has a TBI. In those cases, the service animal could provide the help they need with the tasks. They can also help the patient by serving as an emotional support animal.

How else can a service animal benefit a TBI patient?

Service animals can benefit TBI patients by giving them at least a little bit more independence than they would have without the service animal. In some cases, the dog can help the patient to stay motivated. Having to care for the dog can provide a purpose, and in some cases, it can get the patient up and moving.

Even though service dogs can work wonders for a person with a TBI, these dogs aren't free. Even if a person can get a donated service dog, there are still vet bills and food costs to consider. For a person with a TBI, having to cover extra expenses might mean he or she has to bypass on the dog. In some cases, seeking compensation might help them to be able to afford the service dog that could greatly help them.

Source: SIT Service Dogs, "Service Dogs for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)," accessed June 28, 2016

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