Action for brain injury week is a week-long awareness raising event that takes place between the 14th and 20th May 2018. Also known as ABI week, the event is organised by Headway, a leading charity that is dedicated to promoting understanding of all aspects of brain injury.
Stephensons are actively involved and committed to raising awareness and fundraising for Headway and a number of fundraising events, such as bake sales and sweetie raffles will be taking place in our offices during ABI week; including the popular Hats For Headway Day on Friday 18th May. On this day our staff participate and get involved to raise money, and awareness about brain injures by donating £1 to the charity, wearing a wacky and wonderful hat (homemade of course!) and we then post the pictures on social media using the hashtag #HatsForHeadway.
What is a brain injury?
Acquired brain injury – ABI - Brain injuries, often referred to as acquired brain injuries (ABI), can be caused by a traumatic or non-traumatic event. Common traumatic causes include road traffic accidents, assaults and accidental falls which cause sudden violent movement of the brain within the skull.
Non-traumatic causes of brain injury include strokes, tumours, haemorrhage, aneurysm, asphyxiation and the effects of toxic substances. The effect of these processes is that the brain becomes starved of oxygen, causing irreparable brain cell damage.
The effects of suffering acquired brain injury (ABI) - Whether the brain injury is traumatic or non-traumatic, the physical, cognitive and behavioural consequences can be complex and difficult to manage. In these instances, the person suffering will often require brain injury rehabilitation from a specialist rehabilitation team in order to maximise their future quality of life and ability to function to their maximum capability.
Physical problems - The brain instigates all purposeful movement in the body and is responsible for co-ordinating movements. Physical manifestations of brain injury include:
- Muscle weakness
- Restricted range of movement
These can affect a person's independence and lead to problems carrying out functional activities such as walking, feeding, eating and dressing. The lack of control can also extend to the muscles in a person's face and throat, which can affect speech and swallowing.
Cognitive problems - A person suffering a brain injury can often struggle with their cognitive ability in the period following, which reduces the ability of the brain to function properly. This includes problems with memory, concentration, problem solving ability and self-monitoring.
Behavioural problems - A person's behaviour can become dramatically different following a brain injury or acute brain injury, which can be one of the most difficult aspects for family and friends to cope with during the recovery process. Impulses are often acted upon by sufferers and they will fail to understand the consequences of their behaviour. They may also become aggressive, very irritable or even very placid. Mood swings are very common and people can find it difficult to express their emotions once they have suffered a brain injury.
What help and support is available?
A number of charities and support groups have been set up to help people and families who have suffered a brain injury or have been affected by a loved one who has sustained such an injury. Below are just a few charities and support groups who can assist and provide further information.
The Child Brain Injury Trust
Every 30 minutes, a child or young person will acquire a brain injury. This could be the result of an accident, an illness such as meningitis or encephalitis, a poisoning, a stroke or a brain tumour.
The Child Brain Injury Trust is the charity that supports children, young people, their families and professionals and helps them come to terms with what has happened and how to deal with the uncertainty of the future.
Brain Injury is Big
Brain Injury is BIG. B.I.G is a support group for people who have loved ones with devastating brain injuries. They may be severely disabled, in a persistent vegetative state, minimally aware/conscious or locked in.
Brain Injury Hub
The Brain Injury Hub was developed by The Children's Trust, clinicians from The Children's Trust have contributed extensively to this website. They have used their vast knowledge, expertise and experience on working closely with children with a brain injury to provide tips, strategies and practical information for family and friends who have been affected.
Headway is the UK-wide charity that works to improve life to the full following a brain injury. It has a network of more than 125 groups and branches across the UK and it provides support, services and information to brain injury survivors, their families and carers, as well as guidance towards professionals in the health and legal fields.
Stephensons have a specialist and dedicated team who can help if you, or someone you know has been in an accident and diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, you may want to seek professional legal advice to find out if you are entitled to claim compensation. If you would like to speak to one of our legal specialists contact us today on 0175 321 6399 for free initial advice or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.
By Alex Penk, graduate paralegal in the personal injury department