Call for process to bring people with Acquired Brain Injury out of Nursing Homes

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland calls for Government backing to address issues in Wasted Lives report


ABII can provide solutions to Ombudsman’s concerns by:

  • Assisting the journey back to a home setting
  • Helping people to access services they need
  • Providing Rehabilitation Assistants and Case Management.

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABII) today called for engagement with the HSE and Department of Health to help move hundreds of people out of nursing homes and into a pathway of rehabilitation, greatly improving their lives.

ABII said it can provide many of the solutions needed to address issues raised in the Ombudsman’s Wasted Lives Report – and called for Government backing to begin a process of developing and implementing a response.

In May of this year, the Ombudsman published a stark report into the lives of younger people in nursing homes. Wasted Lives outlined the ways in which the system is failing younger people who need care but for whom the nursing home environment is inappropriate and detrimental to their life experience.

The HSE reported that, at 30 June 2020, there were 1,320 people under 65 years of age supported by the Nursing Homes Support Scheme. While it is not known exactly how many could be better supported outside the nursing home setting, based on past experience, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABII) said it can be assumed that a significant proportion could achieve far better outcomes.

The largest cohort of this group was living with an acquired brain injury, including as a result of stroke.

The current Programme for Government commits to “Reduce and provide a pathway to eliminate the practice of accommodating young people with serious disabilities in nursing homes”.

The Ombudsman’s report outlined recommendations to address the systemic deficits – ABII said it believes this report has the potential to mark a seminal moment of change.

ABII CEO Barbara O’Connell called for commencement of a process of engagement with the HSE and Department of Health, supported by Government, working together to address this issue.

“We believe our goals and those of the Ombudsman’s report, as well as the goals of the Government and health services, are aligned in the desire to provide the best possible care. We are ready and want to be part of the solution.

“At Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, more than 60% of our residential rehabilitation clients have come from nursing home settings. We already work closely with disability services in each HSE CHO area, including on the development of bespoke plans and budgets in response to local need. 

“Our outcome measurement data consistently proves that our services support and increase individual Ability, Adjustment and Participation. This means that individuals’ level of disability decreases, and ultimately their support needs from the health system are reduced.

“In the 21 years since ABII was formed, we have improved the lives of those impacted by brain injury, through accident or illness. We do this by providing a range of community rehabilitation services and bespoke residential settings. We also do this by being a strong advocate for all of our service users.

For example:

  • ABII can immediately and significantly improve the quality of life of younger people living in nursing homes by providing on-site Rehabilitation Assistant services
  • While the costs of providing dedicated supports may be higher at the start of the process, there is significant success in restoring levels of independent living to individuals, which not only restores some quality of life, but also brings a tapering off of costs
  • ABII empowers brain injury survivors to live a more independent life. We can support people’s transition and integration out of the nursing home and back into the community
  • In an audit of the impact of a Case Management service in the North East region it was found that there were net annual savings to the health service of €3.5m, while rehabilitation pathways and outcomes for people living with an ABI were improved. In our Pre-Budget submission 2022, ABII highlighted the fact that with an additional €500,000 investment per annum, we could extend a Case Management service to every county in Ireland.”

Ms O’Connell concluded by saying: “Working in partnership with the HSE and Department of Health ABII can understand, plan, and deliver solutions to the many of the concerns raised in the Wasted Lives report. Today we call on Government to sanction that a process of engagement begin, be developed and then implemented.”



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