An Internet-Based Self-Management Intervention to Reduce Fatigue Among People With Traumatic Brain Injury: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

Am J Occup Ther. 2022 Jul 1;76(4):7604205100. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2022.048587.


IMPORTANCE: Fatigue is a chronic and distressing sequela of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Little evidence exists for the efficacy of interventions that address post-TBI fatigue.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the preliminary efficacy of a self-management intervention (Maximizing Energy; MAX) for reducing the impact (primary outcome) and severity of fatigue on daily life, improving fatigue experience, and increasing participation compared with a health education (HE) intervention.

DESIGN: Pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT).

SETTING: Community.

PARTICIPANTS: Forty-one participants randomly assigned to the MAX (n = 20) or HE (n = 21) intervention.

INTERVENTIONS: The MAX intervention included problem-solving therapy with energy conservation education to teach participants fatigue management. The HE intervention included diet, exercise, and energy conservation education. Both interventions (30 min/day, 2 days/wk for 8 wk) were delivered online by occupational therapists.

OUTCOME AND MEASURES: The primary outcome was the modified Fatigue Impact Scale (mFIS). Outcome measures were collected at baseline, postintervention, and 4- and 8-wk postintervention.

RESULTS: At 8 wk postintervention, participants in the MAX group reported significantly lower levels of fatigue impact (mFIS) than those in the HE group, F(1, 107) = 29.54, p = .01; Cohen’s d = 0.87; 95% confidence interval [0.18, 1.55].

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: These findings provide preliminary evidence that the MAX intervention may decrease the impact of fatigue on daily life among people with post-TBI fatigue. What This Article Adds: An internet-based, self-management intervention combining occupational therapy- delivered energy conservation education with cognitive-behavioral therapy seems to reduce fatigue impact and severity among people with post-TBI fatigue. Future appropriately powered RCTs could positively contribute to the evidence available to occupational therapy practitioners for this chronic, debilitating, and often overlooked symptom.

PMID:35749267 | DOI:10.5014/ajot.2022.048587

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