Every person’s experience of brain injury is different, says Dr Rudi Coetzer, Clinical Director at The Disabilities Trust. Rudi explains why this means we tailor everybody's rehabilitation to meet their needs and help them achieve the best possible outcomes.

“It is impossible to imagine what it is like to have suffered a brain injury. Unless of course it is you, or a loved one, who has experienced this. No amount of academic training or working as a clinician can make us think that we truly know the exact personal experience of those we care for.

Unfortunately, the effects of brain injury can also be long-term, extending beyond acute hospital care. Each person’s experience of brain injury is different. For this reason, and many others too, personalised rehabilitation after brain injury is very important.

The effects of brain injury vary enormously

The brain is an extremely complex organ. Despite exponential progress in neuroscience, we do not yet fully understand the functions of the brain. It’s mysterious, functioning invisibly somewhere in the ‘background’. It’s also directly involved in everything we do, feel, and think.

When the brain is injured, there are some similarities between person to person. But the effects vary enormously based on many factors.

Personalised rehabilitation is one of the key factors to help achieving a positive outcome after brain injury.

Our model of rehabilitation

The Disabilities Trust’s clinical, rehabilitation, and other staff work with the people we support to identify important, achievable rehabilitation goals. Impactful rehabilitation acknowledges that, for some people, the journey to try and achieve a good outcome, can sometimes be long.

Our rehabilitation is innovative so that we can care for and support people at different stages of their journey after brain injury. The model we use spans three stages:

  • restoration of lost skills rehabilitation – shortly after someone has a brain injury
  • finding better ways to do things – the middle stage
  • meeting the support and care needs of someone with a brain injury – the later stage

The model of rehabilitation that we use is important. But it is the outcomes, or ‘what has been achieved’, that matters most to the people we support and their loved ones.

At The Disabilities Trust, we routinely publish our outcomes. This shows that we make an impact and achieve positive results by working with the people we support.”

Read Creating an impact for people with brain injuries – The Disabilities Trust Brain Injury Report 2020-21