On February 2nd 2015 An Taoiseach Enda Kenny officially opened the first Transitional Living Neuro-Rehabilitation Centre, for people living with an acquired brain injury (ABI) in the Midlands area. The Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABI Ireland) service, which is funded by the HSE, offers people with an ABI the opportunity to avail of transitional rehabilitation following a stay in hospital before they return home to live in the community.
Speaking about the official opening of the centre An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said, “Brain injury is truly life-changing and it could happen to any of us. To have a best practice brain injury service like this available in the Midlands area is an outstanding achievement for all involved. This centre is community at its best, with of all of the associated partners – ABI Ireland, HSE, Mid-Offaly Housing Association and Anvers Housing Association – working together to ensure the provision of an exceptional service and bringing about hope in transforming people’s lives.”
Barbara O’ Connell, Chief Executive of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland presided at the opening, she said, “We strive to ensure neuro-rehabilitation is available to all those who need it; today is a great example of this. The unfortunate thing is we do not have enough of these types of services across the country. In fact there is a complete dearth in services for people with an acquired brain injury in Ireland; which in many cases has led these people to become part of the group who are referred to as ‘delayed discharges’ in our current health system. Facilities like we have opened here today are the core solution to delayed discharges”.
Sean has been a client of the service for a year and has experienced its life-changing support, he said “After my brain injury my many difficulties meant I was unable to live independently. In a few weeks I am planning to move into my own house”.
The Transitional Living Neuro-Rehabilitation service provided by ABI Ireland provides a home like setting where following a brain injury the person injured can continue to develop their cognitive, motor and behavioural skills with the help of experienced rehabilitation professionals for a given period of time. The service is designed to promote the development of a level of independent living skills and the use of strategies to maximise each person’s sense of independence.
HSE disability services in the midlands identified a need for specific professional services for people with acquired brain injury locally and commissioned ABI Ireland, exemplars in this highly specialised area to provide this service.
Mr Pat Bennett, HSE Chief Officer Area 8, acknowledged the excellent work carried out to date stating that ‘the HSE is looking forward to the continued partnership arrangement with ABI Ireland for the future development of ABI services in the midlands’.
Commending the work of the service Johnny Butterfield of Mid-Offaly Housing Association said; “I’ve been amazed at the improved quality of life of the residents of Teach Fáilte since they have moved in”.
The service operating from Teach Fáilte is funded by the HSE from a building provided by the Mid-Offaly Housing Association and Anvers Housing Association.