HOUSTON – A day after Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was moved to TIRR Memorial Hermann for rehabilitiaton with her family at her side, doctor said Tuesday that Giffords has been staying busy.
"I believe they are very much engaged with the program," said Dr. Gerard Francisco, TIRR Memorial Hermann’s Chief Medical Officer. "We have already had a meeting and explained to them what the program is going to be like and how it’s going change over time."
Giffords was shot in the head January 8 when authorities say 22-year-old gunman Jared Loughner opened fire while she was meeting with constituents. The mass shooting left 6 dead and 13 wounded.
Like any patient who suffers a traumatic brain injury, the rehabilitation will involve more than a dozen doctors, therapists and nurses. Each person will work on a different part of her recovery.
The program can be compared to conducting an orchestra, with Dr. Gerard Francisco, the person overseeing it, acting as the conductor.
"We also have neurologic music therapists," said Francisco. "We have recreational therapists, a pharmacist, chaplain, dietician, social worker, case managers. They are all a part of our team. It’s a very big team."
Neurologic music is a therapy - often talked about for Giffords – that involves playing music for patients to help stimulate their brain. It also helps speech as patients mouth or sing the words of songs.
"It’s like dancing to the beat, or in this case, it’s like moving to the beat," said Francisco.
Giffords is undergoing three hours of therapy a day, a standard time length for brain injury patients. Francisco hopes to extend that time over the course of the next few days.