Brain injury and rehabilitation

 

Sir, – We hear every day about the crisis in our acute health services but what about the people left to exist after surviving a massive trauma like brain injury? We need to fight for them too.

There are 19,000 brain injuries acquired every year in Ireland and worldwide, and brain injury is set to surpass other diseases as the biggest cause of death and disability. There is hardly a family in the country that hasn’t been touched by brain injuries caused by stroke, road traffic accidents, falls, tumours and assault.

Right now brain injury survivors face a lottery to access neuro-rehabilitation services in Ireland and this is not good enough. This country cannot continue to save a life on the one hand but rob quality of life on the other hand by not investing in community rehabilitation.

Our hospitals are clogged up unnecessarily by keeping brain-injury survivors in acute beds that don’t need to be there. Some young survivors are forced to live indefinitely in nursing homes or community hospitals without access to any rehabilitation to aid their recovery. Families are pushed to breaking point because of severe under-resourcing of neuro-rehabilitation. The reality is if you have a brain injury outside of Dublin, there are no specialist beds for you and very little rehabilitation in your community.

As voters put election candidates through their paces on the doorsteps, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland is calling on the public to demand more funding for community rehabilitation in the next programme for government.

This will save time and money across the health system by improving the flow of brain injury survivors from hospital to home, free up acute beds, reduce stress on families as caregivers, and improve health outcomes. – Yours, etc,

BARBARA O’CONNELL,

Chief Executive,

Acquired Brain

Injury Ireland,

Dun Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.