Erika was admitted to The Royal London Hospital Whitechapel having suffered a traumatic brain injury after falling from a horse. She was airlifted from the scene having broken five of her ribs, breaking her collarbone and fracturing her skull.

A CT scan revealed that Erika had soft tissue haematoma as well as multiple fractures over her body due to the extent of the fall. After initial treatment at the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath, West Sussex she was admitted to Kerwin Court, a service run by the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT) in West Sussex.

As a result of the injury, Erika suffered from dysarthria which is the slurring of speech and had mild difficulties finding the right word when speaking. Additionally she had problems with her balance, co-ordination and short-term memory as well as daily living skills such as such as washing, dressing and feeding herself.

After having her initial assessment by Clinical Team at Kerwin Court, a goal centred rehabilitation plan was put in place to support Erika to address the problems that she was facing. As an accomplished pianist and oboe player, music was a key part of Erika's rehabilitation. Not only did it help with dexterity and memory retention but aid with her coordination skills too.

Kerwin Court service user Erica playing the piano

Erika received daily physiotherapy treatment in order to improve her mobility. She was encouraged to move without her walking frame, building up her core muscles which provided more stability when walking.

Other areas of rehabilitation included cooking in the therapy kitchen, menu planning, food shopping and money management.

Erika moved from the main building at Kerwin Court to a specialised bungalow in the grounds similar to her home prior to her injury. Not only did the move from the main unit give a sense of independence but gave her the best possible chance of continuing to progress with her rehabilitation.

Gradually Erika began making visits back to her own home. The team supported Erika to shop for her supplies, prepare her meals and clear up. Erika completed these tasks unaided; and then knew she was ready to live independently again in the community.

After four months at Kerwin Court, Erika was discharged and moved back into her home. She has now returned to teaching at Brighton and Hove High School and is singing with the Seaford Choral Society.

For more information: