The scale of brain injury in Ireland
We estimate more than 19,000 brain injuries are acquired in Ireland every year. This is based on a minimum of 18,800 brain injuries occurring annually as confirmed by 8,500 strokes a year (National Stroke Audit), 300 brain tumour cases (National Cancer Registry) and 10,000 people hospitalised with traumatic brain injuries (National Neuro-Rehabilitation Strategy).
A further 120,000 people in Ireland are estimated to be living with moderate or severe disability caused by brain injuries. We believe these figures are only scratching the surface of the scale of brain injury in this country.
Currently, there is little Irish epidemiological research to show the actual incidence or prevalence of acquired brain injury. Without this research, it is difficult to secure additional financial resources required to ensure people have access to vital, specialist neuro-rehabilitation services like ours.
The Gaps in Services
An appalling lack of neuro-rehabilitation services is devastating thousands of brain injury survivors and their families across the country who are left merely to exist. Persistent service gaps mean that brain injury survivors face a lottery to access neuro-rehabilitation services in Ireland. A severe lack of statutory investment in home and community rehabilitation services and residential rehabilitation has resulted in:
- significant waiting lists for brain injury survivors across the country
- delayed discharges from both acute hospitals and the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH)
- inappropriate placement of young brain injury survivors in nursing homes
Our number one strategic priority is to create equal access to neuro-rehabilitation services nationwide. We are particularly focused on the persistent gaps in the West and parts of the eastern seaboard between now and 2024.
Development of our services across the country will:
- free up acute beds in hospitals
- save time and money across the health system by improving the flow of brain injury survivors from hospital to home
- result in better health outcomes for thousands of brain injury survivors
- decrease caregiver burden
Number of clients: 588
Our Case Managers are brain injury experts who act as a single point of contact providing a clear pathway and linkages to the variety of services to support a person’s transition from hospital to home.
Home and Community
Number of clients: 282
Our Rehabilitation Assistants deliver one-to-one neuro-rehabilitation to support individuals with their rehabilitation goals at home and integrate back into their community and family life.
Number of clients: 212
Our Clubhouses provide vital peer support, group rehabilitation and cognitive rehabilitation to enhance independence and encourage learning new skills.
Number of beds: 4
Our transitional living service is a bridge for brain injury survivors to prepare to return to independent living. It provides intensive rehabilitation and support in a residential setting Monday to Friday from 6 weeks up to 6 months.
Number of beds: 79
Our unique neuro-rehabilitation assisted living services provide long-term tailored rehabilitation and support to 4-5 residents in a house to maximise their independence in a safe and homely place on a 24/7 basis.
Our family services deliver support nationally through case management, family therapy, parenting skills training, carer training and peer support groups.
Raise a Voice for Brain Injury
Brain injury is a hidden phenomenon in Irish society. Nobody ever thinks it will happen to them. But it happens to 52 people in this country every day, often leaving them with a chronic, ongoing condition that can affect their lives and those of their family for months, years and even decades after the initial injury. Too often people who acquire brain injuries are young and they are left in inappropriate settings such as nursing homes, community hospitals or at home where families are unable to cope.
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? There are 19,000 brain injuries acquired every year in Ireland and worldwide, 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.
This highlights a greater need for awareness around brain injury. If more people understand brain injury at a political level, in the health system and widely in the public, the easier it will be to achieve support for investment in the services needed to support individuals and their families.
Every day our rehabilitation teams go the extra mile to relentlessly advocate on behalf of clients to raise a voice for brain injury survivors and their families so they can get access to vital services.
How you can help raise a voice for brain injury:
- Share your story/experience of brain injury
- Engage with our social media activity
- Become a brain injury advocate (we’ll guide you every step of the way!)
Our Priorities for Investment: 2020 and Beyond
Rehabilitation services for people in Ireland with acquired brain injury (ABI) are underdeveloped and under-resourced. Growing the specialist neuro-rehabilitation community services that Acquired Brain Injury Ireland provides will ensure that people move from hospital to home in a timely and seamless manner, avoid lengthy stays in hospital and maximise their potential and quality of life. Currently, our health services are struggling to cater for the 19,000 brain injuries happening annually.
Our top priorities for investment in 2020:
- To make our organisation sustainable into the future as the current funding model is not workable. We need a new funding model with a further annual investment of €1.5m of core funding in order to maintain and grow our services.
- To establish a Regional Neuro-rehabilitation Centre offering specialist rehabilitation for people with an acquired brain injury. We are seeking once-off development funding of €5m to kick start the project. This funding would enable the necessary investment in staffing, programme development and infrastructural work to begin to get the service up and running. The project will be replicable in other sites across the country where such services are needed as outlined in the HSE’s Neuro-rehabilitation Implementation Framework (2019).
Benefits of regional neuro-rehab centre:
- Take people out of acute hospitals who don’t need to be there
- Take people from the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) who have completed their medical rehabilitation or those who are on the NRH waiting list
- Provide specialist brain injury rehabilitation that will ensure people reach their maximum potential
- Reduce the burden on families who are struggling to cope
- Save money across the health services by providing timely access to rehabilitation and improving the flow of people from hospital to home
Get In Touch With Us
Acquired Brain Injury Ireland is a business name of Peter Bradley Foundation Limited. Company No. 334659 Reg Charity No. CHY 14289