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Staff Training Issues

The use of substances after brain injury is inconsistent with healthy recovery, regardless of the staff’s personal values and beliefs about alcohol and other drug use. 

ALL staff need training about the effects of substance abuse and brain injury, not just substance abuse program staff. This means management, supervisors, direct care staff and support staff. This multi-level training is essential to develop a core knowledge-base and maintain a consistent message for persons with brain injury. Management needs training so the issue does not get lost in the midst of competing needs and agendas. Supervisory staff must ensure that existing and new staff include these issues in treatment plans. Direct care staff build awareness and understanding for persons with brain injuries and their family members. Support staff must ensure that they also give a consistent message.

The message is: THE USE OF SUBSTANCES AFTER BRAIN INJURY IS INCONSISTENT WITH HEALTHY RECOVERY. The message is valid regardless of staff’s personal values and beliefs about alcohol and other drugs.

Training on the issue of substance use will create personal turmoil, ambivalence and resistance for some staff. This may be due to a variety of reasons, including a person’s personal attitudes and behaviors or a family member’s or significant other’s behavior related to the use of alcohol and other drugs. This point should not be taken lightly. Because of issues that may be brought to the surface by training and insistence on a common message, preparations should be made to provide confidential professional counseling for those who identify an individual or family issue with substance abuse.

Successful programs make an ongoing commitment to training. Regular training helps maintain consistent understanding among new staff or staff with changing responsibilities. When developing the training, consider using outside resources, inservice trainings, reading materials, videos and sending staff to off-site training.


Training creates ambivalence in some staff members because of their own use of alcohol and other substances.


This website has been funded with financial assistance from Grant #H133A120086 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to the Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation for the current funding period of 10/01/2012 - 09/30/2017.