Provide information and support for people with brain injuries, their families and carers.
Headway Portsmouth and South East Hampshire has set out to offer far more in terms of social rehabilitation for people with brain injury and once we were able to reopen our sessions to our service users we aimed to introduce more sport and physical activities for our SU’s A recent article from Sport England dated 5 Nov 2021 states that the benefits of taking part in physical activity “outweigh the risks” for people with long term heath conditions.
• To promote understanding of all aspects of acquired brain injury, and to provide information, support, and services to people with acquired brain injury, their family, and carers residing in Portsmouth & South-East Hampshire.
• To promote a coordinated, multi-disciplinary approach to acquired brain injury screening, acute care, assessment, rehabilitation, community re-entry.
• To assist people with acquired brain injury to return to community living, including access to appropriate accommodation, employment, social outlets, and meaningful activity; thereby assisting them with reintegration into society, regaining independence, and achieving their highest level of quality of life.
• Through support, advocacy and social activities; to provide opportunities for sharing experiences.
• To raise awareness of the effects of acquired brain injury and represent the interests of those with acquired brain injury with statutory services as well as other organisations and to lobby for improved specialised services locally.
• To participate in health education/health promotion activities that will reduce the incidence and severity of head injury.
• To become a leading advocate in using sport as an important tool following an acquired brain injury, as not only does sport provide you with the opportunity to partake in exercise it has a positive impact on mental wellbeing, encouraging interaction with others where possible, as well as developing friendships with peers.
• To reduce isolation for Service Users and carers
• To enable carers/ families to cope better
• To improve cognitive processes for Service Users by teaching them to use compensatory strategies to alleviate difficulties and promote independence.
• To enable users to regain a sense of self
• To provide the opportunity to partake in exercise which has a positive impact on mental wellbeing, encouraging interaction with others where possible, as well as developing friendships with peers.
• To improve wellbeing, confidence and independence The demand for our service continues to increase, despite the COVID pandemic and following on from the first lock down when our services didn’t re-open we were keen to utilise our staff rather than furlough them as we were aware that they were needed to support the vulnerable isolating service users and their carers.
At the beginning we were dealing with just the service users but as COVID went on we started getting involved with all the family members and we were also receiving more referrals from the social workers and hospital. In addition, some fringe people became more engaged due to the lockdowns.
These support services also ensured that we were able to monitor any possible concerns and take necessary action before issues arose, reducing the possible return to hospital or breakdown in recovery.
During the lockdowns we had to adapt our normal contacts to ensure that every client and carer received at least one contact by phone, email, text or zoom per week form a member of staff. It then became evident that some of these contacts had to become face t face meetings on gardens or going for walks. Some clients and carers had a great deterioration in their mental health and needed more intervention to prevent them from becoming withdrawn or suicidal. Some staff had to become more involved in some crisis situations leading to daily contact including weekends, whilst also trying to fight for support for these people with mental health teams, GP’s, Adult Social Care, and the police.
At the start of the pandemic back in April 2020 we were supporting 130 people but after 3 months we saw a steady increase to 214 and by the end of the year this had risen to 303. We were also seeing no reduction in referrals from the hospital with a huge 29 people being referred in July 2020 compared to our usual 15 a month Obviously as the lockdowns continued, we were still receiving referrals from the hospital as we were one of the only Charities still providing a service and we found that we were receiving referrals far earlier in their journey than we would usually be involved in. We were also finding that our support now went further offering support to family members and carers as well as the service user.
Feedback was sought from our service users during the pandemic, as we felt it was key to capture the importance the role of Headway Portsmouth had with our service users and carers. Please see some of their comments below:
“I felt that someone was there for us, I enjoyed the long chats and I used to really look forward to the calls”
“It was good to hear a friendly voice, I didn’t feel alone, great that we didn’t lose touch with each other, still felt part of the group, love the WhatsApp video chats”
“When I had a problem with my shower you contacted the council for me and arranged for them to come out and repair it for me. I couldn’t have done it on my own”
Our sessions slowly reopened from April 2021 but initially we were only operating at 50% capacity because of the restrictions still in place and the unknown but our monthly throughput has grown month on month and the number of monthly new SU’s we are having.