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Interview with Masters Student Sarah Lillas 

Rehabilitation Teaching & Research Unit (RTRU), School of Medicine, University of Otago

Impact of fatigue after a traumatic brain injury: a client perspective

POSTED: 3 July 2017

Can you describe your particular passion and why you are researching?

I have been working as an Occupational Therapist in the area of neurology throughout my career.  I am drawn to the complexity that this client group can present with and having to really engage with them to determine how to manage their difficulties as holistically as possible. Fatigue is such a common difficulty experienced in neurological conditions, especially Traumatic Brain Injury.

There is no research on how to manage this effectively so I am passionate about adding to the evidence in this area.

Why are you doing this particular research?

I am doing this research as part of my masters of health science endorsed in rehabilitation.

What is involved – describe the work, who you work with, where and how long it will take?

I have been doing this part time for the last 2 years and am due to hand my thesis in in August 2017. I have supervisors that I connect with fortnightly (one in Wellington and one in Dunedin) through the University of Otago. I am based in Hamilton so all my learning is distance and can be mixed with my responsibilities as a mother and worker.

What is exciting you in what you are discovering?

I have found a lot of similarities with what is clinically practiced currently, but it is shaping into more of an ordered approach that could be useful clinically. 

What do you hope to achieve?

I hope that I can add some good evidence to fatigue management with Traumatic Brain Injury.

What are your hopes beyond this research for the future of the study?

Currently, I am focusing on my Masters. The balance in life doing this is difficult so contemplating my PhD is hard at this stage, but I would like to consider doing this in the future.

See all of the recipients of the 2017 first funding round here.


Interview with Sarah Lillas - impact of fatigue after a traumatic brain injury- a client perspective


Sarah Lillas, Masters Student at Rehabilitation Teaching & Research Unit (RTRU), School of Medicine, University of Otago, received a travel grant of $2,000 to present her research findings at Australasian Society for the Study of Brain Impairment conference this year. Sarah’s research interest is regarding how people manage their fatigue after sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI). In particular, how people manage their fatigue at work to enable them to participate in paid employment. The area of fatigue management after TBI has limited quality research on it yet, fatigue has a substantial impact on peoples return to work.

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