A Surrey-based rehab care provider is calling for action on both community neuro-rehabilitation teams as well as better provisions for younger people needing 24-hour care as a result of an acquired brain injury (ABI), with the Government’s ABI strategy set to be published next month.
The call to action from CHD Living, came as it marked ABI Week – the annual campaign by Headway, the brain injury association, which brings the topic of brain injury and the challenges faced by those who suffer from them to the forefront of conversation. The theme for 2023 was ‘Every 90 Seconds’, relating to Headway’s statistic that one person is admitted to hospital with an ABI every 90 seconds within the UK. Its study conducted between 2019-20 also uncovered startling statistics of an increase in hospital admissions by 12% in the last decade.
With details of the government’s new ABI strategy due to be published in June 2023, Action for Brain Injury Week was also a timely opportunity for both those with ABIs as well as those who support them, both personally and professionally, to reflect and call for what needs to be seen in the strategy.
CHD Rehabilitation, part of CHD Living’s award-winning group of care facilities, provides rehabilitation for acquired brain injury in two of its centres; Bagshot Park and Kingston. Focussed on enabling independence for its residents, individual, bespoke pathways are designed by the team to help its service users find a new pattern of life and continue to live their lives, their way.
Alice Bruce, Head of Clinical Services at CHD Living, said:
“Patient specific treatment is a critical part of the care we provide. We want our residents to find new ways to engage with things they love since a brain injury can mean unimaginable change to a person’s life in a matter of moments.
“We see ourselves as a part of a whole multi-disciplinary team that includes a resident’s family and friends as well as other clinical support services. We feel it is critical that as part of next month’s strategy, we see the Government take real action on bringing care into the community with dedicated specialist community neuro-rehab teams, especially occupational therapy for cognitive rehab needs. Most areas do now have specialist neuro physio in the community, although the wait times can be long, but we are missing a step as regards to occupational therapy needs. Additionally, there needs to be better resources for younger people needing round the clock care.
“Aside from the clinical aspects of supporting those with ABI, patients would benefit greatly from more information on other support available such as financial assistance, as they often have to try and navigate the system on their own which can be complicated and a barrier to receiving support which they are entitled to. A key part of the new strategy should be around better signposting for additional help and services.”
Headway’s 2018-19 study also showed that 977 hospital admissions per day across the UK were related to brain injury. Of those, 433 were head injuries and 376 were diagnosed with stroke. The study also revealed that men were 1.5 times more likely to suffer a head injury than women, but the number of women admitted with ABI had risen by 28% since 2005.
Alice added: “People with spinal cord injuries have a very protected pathway and guaranteed access to all the support that they need for their condition, however ABI patients who may have the same level of disability and dependency have very few resources they can access. To be truly effective, this new strategy needs to align ABI with other conditions which require similar support levels and help patients navigate the changes they face in their day-to-day lives.”