Close up of The Woodmill service user Kerry

Rehabilitation is a term that describes different kinds of specialist support and services that help natural recovery after someone has received a brain injury.

The nature of the rehabilitation will depend on the stage the person has reached in their recovery process. Brain injury rehabilitation starts in hospital with proper nutrition and physiotherapy to reduce the risk of muscles hardening and make sure the person's chest remains free from infection.

When the individual has regained consciousness there may be further intensive physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and occupational therapy to help them regain basic skills like washing and dressing.

Once the person is medically stable the type of brain injury rehabilitation they need will change. They will often move from a hospital ward to a rehabilitation centre, which might not be on a hospital site at all.

The Neurobehavioural Approach

The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT) have pioneered the neurobehavioural approach to rehabilitation in the UK.

People who are undergoing rehabilitation are helped to overcome their problems in a constructive and rewarding way. We give them as much support as they need to achieve success, gradually reducing support so they become more independent.

West Heath House service user and support worker standing outside impressive building

Real life settings

We focus providing rehabilitation in real life settings, such as a trip to the shops, travelling on public transport, or going to work placements. This method has been shown to be much more successful than concentrating on doing exercises in a brain injury rehabilitation centre.

All BIRT's services are in residential areas close to local amenities and with good public transport links. Service users will be taught strategies to help them compensate for their difficulties. For example, memory problems can be successfully overcome by writing in a diary.

Specific goals are agreed for each service user, depending on their needs. Progress towards these goals is carefully documented. If their brain injury rehabilitation is not achieving the desired results, the programme can be adjusted to ensure greater success.

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