When it happens to you: the Peter Bradley story
This year, 13,000 people in Ireland will be affected by an acquired brain injury. While you might acknowledge that it’s a staggering number, you never think it’ll happen to you or someone you love. Well, it happened to my family.
My brother Peter had not one, but two, serious road accidents in his lifetime. These accidents and their effects have brought him close to death’s door more times than we care to remember. In the year 2000 my husband Maurice and I, along with the support of family members, set up ABI Ireland (formerly named the Peter Bradley Foundation after our brother), to provide better services for people like Peter who had acquired a brain injury.
At the young age of 42, and having suffered two brain injuries Peter was no longer being able to live independently, as his memory was not strong enough to ensure he would take full care of himself.
At this time Peter was still a very bright man and to see him be misplaced in a nursing home was devastating. I knew with the correct environment and neuro-rehabilitation Peter would make strides in his recovery and be able to live semi-independently once again.
In 2001 Peter moved into ABI Ireland’s first assisted living residential service for people with acquired brain injury. This was the first ABI specific residence in Ireland, and we knew we needed many more. We have come such a long way since then – there are now residential and community rehabilitation and supported living facilities in every province in Ireland and we have expanded our services beyond our most optimistic hopes. Peter cooks, cleans and manages his own affairs with minimum supervision and staff support. The best part of all is that he is interested in life again.
Even though we have made enormous progress in terms of providing services for people affected by acquired brain injury, this is only the tip of the iceberg in relation to prevalence of ABI.
We believe that the key to appropriate rehabilitation is an ABI specific package of neuro-rehabilitation delivered in a timely manner.
We have always been and continue to be committed to best practice. ABI Ireland was the first organisation in Ireland to achieve international recognition for quality services from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) confirming we are providing services aligned to international best practice. As a CARF accredited organisation we not only continue to highlight the effectiveness of quality rehabilitation within the community but also strive towards ensuring that these services will soon be available to everyone who needs them, regardless of their geographical location. We hope that with this in place ABI Ireland can make a real difference in the lives of those affected by acquired brain injury.
Barbara O’Connell, Chief Executive Officer