Headway, the brain injury association, is a UK wide charity working to enhance life after brain injury. They offer essential assistance and information services. According to their website, every year around 350,000 people are admitted to hospital with an acquired brain injury, that’s one every 90 seconds.
They are running a ‘Brain Drain: Wake up to fatigue!’ campaign during their action for brain injury week which will take place between 20-26 May 2019. The 'Brain Drain: Wake up to fatigue!’ campaign will focus on the ‘debilitating and stigmatising effects of fatigue’ after brain injury. It aims to ‘give a voice to those affected, helping to raise awareness and break the stigma of brain injury-related fatigue.’
Extreme tiredness or fatigue is one of the most frequently experienced effects of brain injury. For Headway, it is the most commonly disclosed effect of brain injury, as reported by the 11,000 callers to their helpline each year. After a brain injury, fatigue may not be time-limited or eased with rest. It can impact heavily on an individual’s day to day life, affecting how they think, feel and what they do. The extent of the brain injury may well impact upon an individual’s ability to recognise the warning signs of extreme tiredness. It can be difficult for them to identify their own triggers making it harder for them to attempt to manage their tiredness.
Managing fatigue requires using different tactics to address the components that are contributing to it. For example, having regular rest breaks helps as does prioritising where to use your energy and planning your day out. A regular night time routine and sleep pattern can also assist. Exercise can be beneficial as can a good diet and drinking plenty of fluid. Cognitive strategies can also help, such as using checklists, flow charts and alarms. Headway have produced a booklet to help people after brain injury to be able to identify the factors that may be affecting their fatigue. The booklet can be found here.
Headway have also launched a survey to help them understand how fatigue can impact life after brain injury. The survey will close on 26 April 2019 and the results will be announced in May as part of their ‘Brain Drain: Wake up to fatigue!’ campaign. You can participate in the survey here.