BIRT's response to ‘Ten top tips for commissioning local rehabilitation services’

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NHS England’s Improving Rehabilitation Services Programme has recently launched new commissioning guidance for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and their local partners. By choosing the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT), you will comply with the new guidelines for commissioning local rehabilitation services.

1. Recognise the rehabilitation you already commission:

BIRT leads brain injury rehabilitation in 13 rehabilitation centres and 36 community houses across England. Our neurobehavioural approach delivers measurable outcomes to promote independence and to save lifetime care costs.

2. Have ambition for your services and the people they serve:

BIRT has over 25 years of service user-focused experience and expertise with published outcomes. From opening its first centre BIRT has grown to be the charity leading brain injury rehabilitation in the UK. We aim to support all our service users to participate in life as fully as possible, needing the least possible assistance.

3. Make your services 'join up' and have some common key principles in your service specification:

Through BIRT’s services, you can commission the whole pathway of brain injury rehabilitation and care. We offer services in different environments that provide a range of rehabilitation options, including acute and hospital based services, and intensive and flexible rehabilitation options. The neurobehavioural approach is consistently used at all our centres, where we also support maintenance of health and wellbeing.

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4. Rehabilitation should not be 'extra' or an 'add-on' – it should be considered throughout each person’s journey:

BIRT’s core focus is on rehabilitation with clinically led multi-disciplinary teams to promote independence, as well as to safeguard physical and mental health. Strategies and interventions are used in a highly structured environment.

5. Consider what outcomes you want; identify some common measures and ask you services to work together:

BIRT has proven, measured and published outcomes with regular satisfaction surveys for each centre used to improve service delivery. Case studies are published to encourage better understanding of what can be achieved and how savings can be made.

6. Consider the range of settings where your services are delivered, especially community settings, the third sector and care homes (including respite care):

BIRT offers a continuum of provision from hospital and acuteservices to community settings and outreach facilities. Families are supported to understand the changes that brain injury brings so their loved ones can return home.

7. Take a strategic view so that you invest to save:

BIRT’s published research shows that lifetime cost savings of between £570,000 - £1.13 million could be achieved for individuals admitted to rehabilitation within one year of their brain injury. Commissioning BIRT services will help you invest to save.

8. Cross-check your local services against the rehabilitation model to identify gaps or duplication and outcomes being achieved:

BIRT’s services are innovative and adaptable, aiming to increase independence as complexity of need is reduced. The rehabilitation options used and route taken depend on each person’s needs and the pathway of support can be accessed at any point.

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9. Ask for advice and support if necessary:

BIRT shares its knowledge and expertise through research, local seminars and international conferences. We offer advice and support at local centres, through a range of forums including family groups, one to one sessions, as well as regular review meetings.

10. Ask your providers and service users how improvements could be made and what can be done differently to improve outcomes for people:

BIRT welcomes feedback via suggestion card boxes at each centre. Formal progress reviews take place regularly with key stakeholders including families / advocates. Satisfaction surveys are used to improve service delivery to meet stakeholder needs.

Read the full NHS England Commissioning Guidance for Rehabilitation.

Find out how to make a referral as well as further information about the process and how BIRT can support you. BIRT's referral service is free, transparent, available nationally and expert-led.

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