WEB EX: Gabrielle Giffords moves into new home - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

WEB EX: Gabrielle Giffords moves into new home

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was enjoying her first full day at home back in Tucson on Monday.

She moved into a midtown home on Sunday.

As Giffords has continued to improve, we have asked local experts what a patient like her would be experiencing in treatment right now.

Monday we went to Carondelet St. Joseph's Hospital and the Carondelet Neurological Institute.

Giffords is now18 months into her treatment after being shot in the head during an assassination attempt January 8, 2011.

At St. Joseph's hospital, an employee helped demonstrate one of the more advanced machines that assist in rehabilitation of traumatic brain injury patients.

It's Computerized Dynamic Posturography or CDP, an assessment and treatment tool.

We were shown how the CDP works to improve balance and strength.

An expert in traumatic brain injury rehabilitation told us this is an exciting time for both the patient and the therapist because the patient has come so far.

Carondelet Neurological Institute Director of Rehabilitation Services Teri Flanagan says, at 18 months, treatment focuses on truly integrating the patient back into her life, as she feels better and can communicate better.

"If you have that understanding that it takes 10,000 repetitions for a skill to become automatic and if we can keep it fresh and fun and focused on things that are meaningful to the individual, it really is an exciting juncture for the therapist and the patient," Flanagan says.

"It's going after that little that's still left in terms of the weakness and deficits that we can continue to rehabilitate and, most importantly, allow this individual to get back to what their recreational activities were, allow them to go back to work, and really have that comfort and confidence to be able to do it."

Flanagan is not involved in Giffords' treatment.

Flanagan says improvement at this point will be more gradual, but it can continue for a very long time.

She says recovery depends on motivation of the patient, family support and access to rehabilitative services--all things Giffords has in her corner.

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