Acquired Brain Injury – did you know…?
- In Edinburgh & the Lothians, approximately 2,600 people sustain a head injury each year.
- More people now survive a brain injury, having a normal life expectancy and potential for future employment.
- Most people with an acquired brain injury will experience no lasting physical disability.
- Long-term consequences may include short-term memory problems, reduced stamina, concentration and initiative.
- Many people encounter communication and emotional difficulties as a result of brain injury however effective strategies exist to cope with these issues.
What is an Acquired Brain Injury?
There are two types of brain injury:
- Non-traumatic injury which is due to internal causes, e.g. a stroke or haemorrhage
- A traumatic injury is usually the result of an accident or fall and most likely to happen to males in the 18 – 30 age group.
Effects of Brain Injury
Almost all of those who survive a brain injury will have a normal life expectancy and many individuals will have no lasting physical disability. Prior to their brain injury most would have expected to have many years of potential employment ahead of them. However other less obvious problems may continue to have a major effect on an individual’s life, e.g.:
- Cognitive impairments
- Personality changes
- Loss of emory (particularly short-term memory)
- Lack of stamina
- Reduced concentration
- inability to plan or initiate activities
- Loss of social skills
- Physical disability, sensory problems and motor skills
After a head injury there are often problems in returning to work. However there are several strategies, which can be used to help promote successful outcomes:
- Avoiding a premature return to work is important
- Negotiating a gradual return to work is crucial, starting on a part-time basis if possible and building up hours slowly
- A work environment with few distractions and interruptions is ideal
- A job with a high degree of structure, consistency and familiarity will assist The individual
- Break the job down into small manageable parts
- Careful monitoring and feedback will help identify any problems
- External aids, e.g. lists, diaries, charts etc., can help with memory, concentration and organizational ability