Living with TBI: How to Find Support and Resources within the Tampa Bay Area 

As an OTD student in Tampa, I have researched thoroughly the existing community support services for those post TBI in the Tampa Bay area. We know there are common challenges faced by those who are returning to their day-to-day life after sustaining TBI, but how do we help connect these clients to these services? I have collected a pool of really great specific TBI resources in the Tampa area that include: psychosocial support, work & financial literacy, transportation, and additional services. 

1. Psychosocial Support

Isolation and lack of social support can leave clients feeling alone during the rehab process but also after returning home and to daily life. Providing opportunities for clients AND caregivers to meet individuals who are experiencing similar challenges, can afford them the support and feeling understood that is often longed for. Some Tampa specific resources for our TBI patients, include support groups that meet to talk about their story, their needs, their struggles and how coming together either in person or virtually can make a HUGE difference in the lives of patients and their caregivers. 

2. Work and Financial Literacy

There is only a 10-40% reported employment rate after sustaining a TBI in the United States and this is a great opportunity for clinicians to provide tips and tricks to navigate financial waves and establish stability. These resources are Florida/Tampa specific and can really jumpstart the process of locating employment while prioritizing patients’ with TBI interests and skills!

  • Websites like Inclusivity can connect you to Success Enablers that assist those with disabilities in finding jobs based on skills/experience as well as training job sites to be more accommodating and accessible. 
  • Other resources like theworkathomewife are specific to Florida and also provide career centered return to work assistance.

3. Transportation 

If the goal is to reintegrate these patients back into the community, we MUST consider the HOW. As caregivers may be limited by financial burdens associated with transportation, physical limitations impacting ability to safely perform transfers, caregiver availability with work, and/or equipment necessary to transport their loved ones. Access to transportation can limit patient’s ability to attend rehab sessions as well as events within the community.

Having reliable and safe transportation can mitigate isolation, empower patients to feel a sense of normalcy, and participate in the activities they want and need to. Here are some Tampa specific resources to provide to patients and their families

Non-Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) → Great option for clients with Medicaid & suitable for those in wheelchairs

Lyft & Uber → Some wheelchair accommodations available; accessible mobile apps

Wheelchair Transport Service → Serving Tampa Bay and surrounding counties

4. Additional Services 

TBI Specific Services in FL

As no two TBIs are the same, it is necessary to consider other potential resources that individuals may need to reintegrate into the community. There are several state and federal entities that work to support individuals with TBI. Here are some links to Florida specific supportive services: 

Addiction & Substance Abuse Services

As we know there is a link between substance misuse and TBI, we have to be prepared to help these patients find assistance when navigating addiction and TBI.

  • Crisis Center of Tampa Bay → provides drug and alcohol treatment and prevention referrals to local providers in Florida, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • HOTLINE: Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

This collection of resources can be used by rehab professionals in and around Tampa, FL in order to support community reintegration post TBI. The continuum of care after the patient leaves the hospital is CRUCIAL to the success of the rehab process.

Save these resources and distribute them to your Tampa patients and continue expanding your educational repertoire by becoming a Certified Brian Injury Specialist.

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