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Improving rehab for brain injuries: Inviting community groups to work together

Livability Icanho recently organised and hosted the ‘Community Opportunities’ day event, which brought together those who could broaden the potential for follow-on support as the specialist rehabilitation provided at the centre is time limited due to funding.

Most people who have had an acquired brain injury or stroke will require rehabilitation to help them recover, either in hospital, a specialist rehabilitation centre or within the community. Treatment is delivered by a team of therapists funded by the NHS and social care.

Everyone’s recovery is different. However, all funded rehabilitation is time limited. Icanho work with people who have complex needs up to a maximum of 9 months to meet their rehabilitation goals. Some people fear the prospect of discharge as they identify additional unmet needs for which there seems no alternative.

The event was held in response to clients’ poor experience in finding what is available post-discharge, and what is most appropriate for them. These may be social services such as housing, benefits, returning to work, but also ‘universal activities and facilities.’ Many clients identify they want continued access to rehabilitation to continue to improve physically and mentally, this could be achieved through accessing local gyms and leisure centres, community groups clubs and activities. However, genuinely accessible services are not easy to find.

Commissioners, NHS teams, local sports and leisure facilities and providers attended the event hosted by Livability Icanho. The charity is looking for partners who can help their clients’ access activities and opportunities in the community. Clients need support and opportunities to continue their recovery and help them live well following discharge from the service.

Ideas from the event to plug this identified gap include: accessible sport facilities, befriending services, support for family members and Icanho supporting community groups and organisations with brain injury education and awareness sessions.

‘I’m delighted that so many local organisations, groups and health and social care professionals came along to look at how we can tackle the gaps for people after they are discharged from specialist rehabilitation services. Listening to our former clients tell their stories was incredibly powerful and a big call to action for all of us to work together to affect change.’ says Jo Marshall, service manager. ‘We are very keen to build on the momentum generated by meeting together’.

A wide range of Icanho’s support and rehab was demonstrated on the day, from specialist rehab equipment in the gym, and cognitive therapies, to the facilities of the adapted kitchen and bathroom designed to help clients ‘re-learn’ how to complete everyday tasks. After a brain injury, this can feel like a huge struggle when faced with fatigue, frustration and a range of physical and mental health challenges.

The open day was the beginning of engaging with the community on who may be interested in working with Icanho. The service will be mapping opportunities available and looking at how they can work together with organisations to make this accessible.

If you are an organisation, business or group interested in working with Livability Icanho please register your interest Enquiries.icanho@livability.org.uk

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