Clinical need

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland launches ‘Rehabilitation Anywhere’

March 26, 2021

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has announced details of a new project that will increase access to rehabilitation services for those living with a brain injury in Ireland. ‘Rehabilitation Anywhere’ will make it possible for more brain injury survivors to engage in neuro-rehabilitation, and to access education and information through digital and web-based platforms.

The project, which is funded through a grant from Comic Relief, was born out of a response to the challenges posed by Covid-19 and the innovative actions taken by Acquired Brain Injury Ireland to continue its services during the pandemic. In March 2020, the organisation launched new telerehabilitation services to ensure that the 1,200 brain injury survivors in its services nationwide continued to receive vital neuro-rehabilitative and clinical support.

Research carried out by the organisation in February 2021 has provided evidence of the efficacy of these new services. The research reveals:

  • Three-quarters of clients experienced benefits from using technology for rehabilitation during the pandemic
  • Almost two-thirds found it easy to make the switch from in-person rehabilitation to rehabilitation online
  • Two-thirds expressed the wish to continue to use technology as part of their rehabilitation into the future
  • Technology offered clients a safe, continuous route to rehabilitation during the pandemic, with two-thirds citing the advantage of being able to access services without needing to travel beyond their home

By adding video conferencing technology and other digital media apps to its service, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland has provided a lifeline to hundreds of individuals and their families since March 2020. Remote and online rehabilitation solutions have enabled them to connect with one another and the 300+ staff working with the organisation, while also maintaining compliance with public health measures.

‘Rehabilitation Anywhere’ will build on and develop this new aspect of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s service in a strategic and focused way. In addition to creating greater flexibility and new resources for individuals currently connected with the organisation, the project will open up the door for more brain injury survivors throughout Ireland to access information and engage with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland online. Planning for rollout of the project is underway, with more details about how to access the service to be announced in the coming months.

Launching the new project, Dr Karen Foley, National Services Manager with Acquired Brain Injury Ireland said:

“Over the past 12 months technology has proven to be an invaluable new aspect of our service delivery. Developing this component of our work may not have been on the agenda before the health crisis, but through the creative responses of our teams, and the adaptability of the individuals we work with, we have uncovered a new neuro-rehabilitation solution that really works. Looking ahead to a post-Covid world, there is clearly a significant role for technology to play alongside our face-to-face services. Our goal is that this project will maximise and expand those online resources so that we really can make it possible to provide ‘Rehabilitation Anywhere’.”

CEO of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Barbara O’Connell added:

“There are all sorts of benefits to adding technology to our toolkit. Even in a Covid world it allows us to extend our geographical reach while limiting physical travel so that we can keep everyone we work with safe. More importantly, it ensures we stay connected. Social isolation is something that survivors of brain injury live with every day and it’s a major risk factor posed by the pandemic. Technology allows our clinicians to protect and maintain the rehabilitation journey for brain injury survivors and their families.”

Every year in Ireland an estimated 19,000 new brain injuries are acquired from causes including stroke, road traffic accidents, brain tumours, falls and assaults. These injuries can happen suddenly to anyone, at any age, at any time, resulting in life-altering, dramatic change. Because each brain injury is entirely unique, every survivor requires dedicated supports and a tailor-made rehabilitation plan.

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland provides these supports. The national brain injury charity is Ireland’s leading provider of community rehabilitation for those of working age (18-65 years), living with and recovering from an acquired brain injury. It is envisaged that ‘Rehabilitation Anywhere’ will bolster the range and reach of its services, supporting the organisation’s mission to rebuild lives after brain injury.

The launch of the project comes at the beginning Brain Awareness Week 2021, a global campaign to foster public enthusiasm and support for brain science. The campaign aims to promote greater awareness and understanding of the brain and brain conditions, as well as the need for more investment in services, research and prevention.

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