Our Letter to the Editor of the Irish Times

The coronavirus pandemic has come out of nowhere and left us feeling isolated. For many of us, these feelings of isolation while challenging, are temporary. Yet isolation is very much an everyday reality for people after they acquire a brain injury.

It happens suddenly

There are 19,000 brain injuries acquired in Ireland every year from causes like stroke, car accidents and falls. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Like the coronavirus, brain injuries happen suddenly, they shatter lives and leave people isolated and filled with uncertainty.

Our services are cocooning

Right now, all 16 of our residential rehabilitation services around Ireland are cocooning to stop the spread. This means no visitors in and no visits out. Vital daily routines are broken. This period of isolation is crushing and a major set-back for many of our brain injury survivors, who have come so far to integrate back into their community and get their lives back.

Our frontline workers never give up

Our frontline rehabilitation teams are working around the clock to keep our clients safe and to deliver essential psychological and neuro-rehabilitative support during this crisis. But it’s challenging.

Rebuilding lives after brain injury

My sincere hope is that we, the people of Ireland, will emerge from this health crisis as a more inclusive society. That we will stay connected to each other and show greater understanding for all people, including our most vulnerable and those with invisible injuries. That when a new government is formed, it will prioritise investment in community rehabilitation, COVID and non-COVID-related, so we can continue to rebuild lives after brain injury.

Yours sincerely,

Barbara O’Connell, Co-founder and CEO, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland

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