We look back at ABI week 2017

Thursday 18 May 2017

Cedar engaged in a range of events with our partner organisations to mark Action for Brain Injury Week, which ran from the 8th - 14th May. A key message of the week was that while treatment of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) has improved in the last decade, it is vitally important that everyone understands how reacting quickly and seeking medical help can lessen its impact. We joined with a range of other charities and statutory organisations which operate in the ABI field to launch an App and a range of leaflets which are available in Doctor’s surgeries and at hospitals to explain the impact of brain injury and how to respond quickly when an accident occurs.

Speaking at the beginning of Brain Injury Awareness week, Elaine Armstrong Head of Employability and Inclusion services at Cedar, said that the availability of faster medical intervention, more advanced surgical techniques and specialist community rehabilitation can have a major impact on recovery.

“While the symptoms of mild brain injury usually resolve themselves in a few weeks, it is vital that everyone across Northern Ireland understands the risks and is aware of the ‘do’s and don’ts’ to promote recovery should they have a fall or accident that leads to concussion or brain injury. It is estimated that each year more than 2,000 people in Northern Ireland sustain a brain injury and many more individuals and their families are living with the long- term effects.  Cedar are committed to providing specialist services to support people surviving brain injury to have choice, opportunity and be fully included citizens”pic 1

Cedar works closely with Health and Social Care Trusts throughout Northern Ireland in helping alleviate the impact of ABI and ultimately help people back to work following and as part of the recovery process.

Dr Bernadette Salisbury, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, and Service Manager for the Southern Trust’s Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Team says that there are many different reasons for, and experiences of ABI,

 “An injury to the brain can be caused by; a trauma such as a car accident, assault or fall; a lack of oxygen, for example as a result of a heart attack; or because of overdose; or from infections like meningitis. Brain injury can have a physical, mental and an emotional impact on a person – the extent of which can vary greatly from each individual.  

“Increased awareness of brain injuries means that referrals to services are increasing. On the milder end of the spectrum – concussion there is definitely more public awareness and most major sports bodies have launched sports concussion guidelines.”

She said that families can often be hit hard by changes in personality which can accompany an ABI,

“Brain injury can affect the whole family - changes in the personality or behaviour of a person with an acquired brain injury can be particularly difficult for loved ones to cope with. Family members may also experience their own adjustment difficulties which can impact on their own emotional wellbeing and mental health. Along with partners like Cedar, we support the person with the brain injury and their family to adapt to the changes to their life and work with them to reach their own individual goals to regain independence and ensure they have the best possible quality of life.”

The most recent figures from across the UK indicate there are admissions to hospital with ABI every 90 seconds, with Acquired Brain Injury admissions having risen by 10% between 2003 and 2013. While men are 1.6 times more likely to be admitted to hospital for treatment of a brain injury, female admissions have risen by 24% since 2004/5.

At Cedar we would also like to thank all those service users who shared their stories in local and regional press to help others understand the impact that brain injury can have on the individual and their family.

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