Dr. Marianne Sturr, Dr. Curtis Waechtler and Brett Gottman, OTR/L presenting their lecture on agitation

Bacharach therapists are constantly researching and learning about the latest therapy techniques and tools to provide the best care for their patients.


This dedication to providing state-of-the-art care is what led to the hospital-wide presentation, Agitation: Assessment & Management of Agitated Behaviors After Brain Injury. Bacharach doctors Marianne Sturr and Curtis Waechtler joined Brett Gottman, OTR/L, Brain Injury Program Co-Coordinator to give the lecture.


Agitation is a state of excessive psycho-motor activity.  It is accompanied by increased tension and irritability. It can manifest as extreme behavior, including sudden mood change, restlessness and dis-inhibition, which can make patients a danger to themselves and others around them.


“I feel that it is important for all staff to be familiar with agitation and what behavioral management tools they can use to improve the patient’s functional outcomes throughout the patient’s stay at Bacharach,” says Brett. “Agitation is often seen in patients who are recovering from a brain injury and it can have a significant impact on their recovery. Consistency and understanding play a huge role in the brain’s healing process so it is important for our staff to all be on the same page.”


Coping Techniques


Hospital staff learned various tools and strategies to help treat brain-injured patients dealing with agitation:

  • Control the patient’s environment – this can be done by reducing overstimulation, such as light, noise and sounds
  • Create a safe environment – having an environment that provides structure and consistency is key for the patient’s recovery
  • Have a flexible approach with the patient – reading their needs and moods and being able to adapt their therapy plan accordingly.

“Our goal when dealing with patients experiencing agitation is to always remain calm and minimize the problematic behavior in order to get their therapy back on track,” says Brett.


Bacharach therapists use objective measures in recall, orientation and response to stimuli to monitor a patient’s progress and address the patient’s needs throughout the healing process.


“We see what our brain injured patients go through on a daily basis and we witness all the battles they have to fight daily,” says Brett. “As a staff, we are committed to ensuring that agitated states and extreme behaviors do not have a detrimental effect on our patients’ recovery – we want them to regain the fullest possible function.”



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