On 20th November UKABIF launched a second manifesto as part of its Campaign, Life After Brain Injury? A Way Forward’ to highlight the need for improvements in the provision of services for people with ABI.
It highlights the lack of understanding about the effects of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) in children and young people, and a lack of awareness that over time ABI is a developing disability. The charity is calling for a National Audit of brain injury incidence and rehabilitation not only for children and young people, but also for adults.
“Current care planning and service provision is woefully inadequate” said Professor Michael Barnes, Chair of the United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum (UKABIF) at the launch of the UKABIF Manifesto ‘
The Manifesto outlines the importance of considering ABI as a chronic health condition with associated ongoing symptoms and emphasises that current care planning and service provision is inadequate. Education services also play a crucial role in the care pathway but personnel have limited knowledge of ABI. In addition practical, easy access to information is required for children, young people, their families and all professionals involved in their care and support.
Speaking at the launch Maureen Le Marinel, President of UNISON, Britain’s biggest trade union with members in the public services and the essential utilities, talked about Katie, her niece, who was knocked down by a car and suffered an ABI. “UNISON is supporting the UKABIF Campaign because I’ve seen at first hand just how devastating an ABI in a young person can be. Although our NHS was brilliant there was a lack of information, service integration and co-ordination. And although the whole family is pivotal in the rehabilitation of the child they are often not considered such a key part of the process”.
Lord Ramsbotham, Chair of the Criminal Justice and Acquired Brain Injury Interest Group, commented that there can be major consequences if children and young people are not monitored long-term – a study published in 2010 highlighted that almost 50% of young male offenders had a traumatic brain injury at some stage in their lives; a significantly higher prevalence than that expected in society as a whole. “ABI must be managed early to avoid long-term disability and monitored long-term for problems arising post-injury” said Lord Ramsbotham.
“ABI is a leading cause of death and disability” concluded Professor Barnes. “Our Manifesto presents four key recommendations which we hope health professionals, purchasers and providers of services will support and implement. By working together we can improve services and ensure the best possible outcomes.”