The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Clubhouse can be defined as a comprehensive and dynamic program of treatment for people with severe and persistent catastrophic head injury. Although Clubhouses have and continue to be used as a rehabilitation center for treating TBI, Communicare Michigan is the first to combine the freedom of the Clubhouse Porgram with the intensive rehabilitation that matches or exceeds those of the antiquated group home and large intstitutional model.
A TBI Clubhouse focuses on “wellness” rather than “illness” and all of its participants are referred to as employees or Members rather than patients or residents. Its location is strategically placed within the community so that every member has the opportunity to access the resources naturally found around them. Integrated clinical and therapy services are provided by Communicare Michigan’s treatment team during the work day to allow the employees the opportunity to receive needed services while working.
In addition to traditional therapy, functional rehabilitation is provided by Life Skills Specialists who give assistance in such areas as generalizable basic work skills, social skill acquisition, use of computer applications, and money management. Staff meetings are held regularly and all operational services of the Clubhouse are completed by its own members/employees.
The goal of the Clubhouse is to provide support, vocation, education, socialization, advocacy, and networking within the community. Those Members who work within the Clubhouse, depending on their abilities, are tasked with work that includes custodial services, secretarial services, artistic services, and development of recreational activities during evening hours. For their services, all employees are paid at least minimum wage.
The daily operations of the Clubhouse are dependent on the participation of each employee, thus providing a sense of responsibility and self-worth for each Member. That self-worth and responsibility are giant steps toward a TBI survivor finding eventual community employment and maintaining independent community living.