Headway – The Brain Injury Assocation, are doing fantastic work for people in the North East
Headway’s Acute Trauma Support is offering fantastic support for people with acquired brain injury in Easington. Based at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough but with a wider remit for the north east, Headway’s Acute Trauma Support nurse provides emotional and practical support, information and advice to family members and carers of people in the early stages following ABI. Kerry Reynolds is part of a nation-wide team, currently covering four major trauma centres and the surrounding areas in England.
Headway’s nurses enable family members to:
- gain a better understanding of brain injury and become more resilient to pressures as a result of being able to make more informed care pathway decisions
- improve their knowledge and confidence to navigate Health and Adult Social Care Systems, enabling more efficient acute pathway progress
- feel less isolated and have better mental wellbeing as a result of the better continuity and more cohesive nature of post-acute care and support.
The project also enables hospitals to provide better care for those affected by ABI and their families by supporting NHS staff to:
- make more effective use of their time in caring for those affected by ABI and their families
- develop a better understanding of the needs of families affected by ABI
- have better communication with families affected by ABI
- provide more effective services in meeting the needs of those affected by ABI and their families.
The project is currently funded by the Big Lottery but Headway are seeking more funding to continue and expand the service in 2018.
Headway is the leading UK-wide charity on acquired brain injury. As well as campaigning to prevent brain injury, such as through their Concussion Aware campaign, they work to improve life after ABI through providing services, support and information at of the care pathway. Around 130 Headway groups and branches across the UK provide local services to ABI survivors. As well as nurses, UK services include:
- a free to call, nurse-led Helpline which handles over 9,000 calls each year, providing support and information to people with ABI, their families, carers and professionals;
- our comprehensive, award-winning website;
- the Headway Brain Injury Identity Card, which is part of our Justice Project. This project aims to raise awareness of brain injury throughout the criminal justice system and ensure people with brain injuries in contact with the criminal justice system are treated appropriately and provided with the support they need;
- the Headway Emergency Fund, which provides grants of up to £500 in the immediate aftermath of brain injury, to help adult brain injury survivors and their families cope with the sudden practical implications.
- award-winning publications.
Headway has recently submitted evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee about the experiences of people with ABI, who often have hidden disability and fluctuating conditions, and this has now been published at http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/work-and-pensions-committee/pip-and-esa-assessments/written/73465.html They are calling for assessors and decision-makers to have specialist training in conditions with hidden and fluctuating effects, specifically acquired brain injury, to help them make accurate and appropriate assessments at the initial stages. I echo those calls. They are also pushing for a system to demonstrate to applicants that medical evidence has been received and considered, and also for the recording of face-to-face assessments to be offered as standard. Both these measures would rebuild trust in the system and also provide more robust records for both applicants and assessors, should an appeal be required.