the primary safety concerns with a brain injury are being
able to perform farming tasks around machinery, livestock,
and other hazardous areas, without getting hurt. A person
who has experienced a brain injury as a result of a stroke
or a blow to the head may have varying limitations including:
memory loss, dizziness, fatigue, instability, paralysis, decreased
reaction time, incoordination, cognitive impairment, grasping,
visual and many other physical impairments. In addition, the
individual may experience impulsivity, and lack of awareness
of current abilities. The individual may remember the abilities
s/he had prior to the brain injury and may perceive themselves
as having those same abilities.
very important to determine the exact nature of the limitations
and how these limitations may affect performing farm tasks
following is a list of general tips that farmers with brain
injuries have shared to help prevent additional injuries.
the doctor says that you shouldn't drive a car, then you
shouldn't operate farm machinery.
the doctor says that you can operate an automobile with
modifications, then you can also operate farm machinery
with appropriate modifications. Please consult with a rehabilitation
professional regarding the appropriate modifications.
protection, such as helmets, should be worn at all times
when performing farm related tasks.
the injury has resulted in limited mobility, appropriate
mobility aids should be selected to prevent falls. These
aids may include: a used golf cart; lawn mower with adaptations;
an appropriate wheelchair; and special cane tips for maneuvering
around ice, snow, and loose gravel.
and dismounting from farm machinery can be hazardous for
someone with paralysis on one side of the body. Additional
steps, wider steps, steps made of non-slip material such
as "Grip Strut", and additional hand-holds should be considered
to prevent falling.
tasks requiring vertical climbing, a lift or back support
rings, or stairs could be considered, or have somebody else
do the climbing. If there is a chance that you could become
dizzy, then vertical climbing should be avoided completely.
Always consult with a physician first, regardless of what
modifications could be made.
access to livestock can be dangerous due to their unpredictable
nature. Accommodations to reduce potential injury include:
installation of fence line feeders or automated feeding
systems; installation of raised decks for hogs; appropriate
livestock holding equipment; or having another person perform
the potentially dangerous tasks.
limitations due to decreased cognitive ability, consult
with medical professionals as to what tasks could be safely
performed with supervision and/or prompting aids including:
a job coach; color coded measuring devices; memory aids;
auditory aids, closed loop tape machine with repeating messages
and outdoor communication devices.
adaptations or modifications intended for use by an individual
with a disability should be used by that individual only.
Use of a modification or adaptation by another individual
could result in an injury.
information shared is based on data gathered by the Easter Seal
Society of Iowa's Farm Family Rehabilitation Management (FaRM)
Program through financial support from the Injury Prevention
Research Center at the University of Iowa Grant #R49\CCR703640-02
funded by the Center for Disease Control. No scientific research
has been conducted to determine if the above tips or suggestions
are safe or effective. The information shared is simply ideas
shared by farmers affected by disabilities of the staff at the
FaRM Program. For more information or clarification contact
the FaRM Program at (515) 289-1933 or submit comments or questions
to P. 0. Box 4002, Des Moines, Iowa, 50333.
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