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Saturday, 18th January 2020

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland urges voters to call on election candidates for more funding

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Pictured (l-r) Mark Mitchell, MS Ireland service user (centre), Kathleen O Meara, Rehab Group, Ava Battles, MS Ireland, John O’Sullivan, Enable Ireland, Meabh Smith, Irish Wheelchair Association, Barbara O’Connell, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, Theresa Anderson, Cheshire Ireland, Brendan Lennon, Chime, Kevin Kelly, NCBI of The Disability Action Coalition pictured outsie the Dail on December 3rd last. They are calling on the Government to resolve the funding crisis which they say is threatening the future of their services. Picture: Conor McCabe Photography.

Brain injury survivors face a lottery to access neuro-rehabilitation services in Ireland, according to the nation’s leading provider of community rehabilitation for brain injury.

As voters put election candidates through their paces on the doorsteps, Acquired Brain Injury Ireland is calling on the people of Louth to demand more funding for community neuro rehabilitation in the next Programme for Government.

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland’s Chief Executive Barbara O’Connell said: “This country cannot continue to save a life on the one hand but rob quality of life on the other hand by not providing neuro rehabilitation in the community to brain injury survivors.

"Without investment in rehabilitation, our hospitals are clogged up unnecessarily by keeping brain injury survivors in acute beds that don’t need to be there. Families are pushed to breaking point because of severe under-resourcing of neuro rehabilitation. The reality is if you have a brain injury outside of Dublin, there are no specialist beds for you and very little rehabilitation in your community.

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“That’s why I’m calling on the people of Louth to ask about funding for rehabilitation on the doorsteps when election candidates come to call. With 19,000 brain injuries acquired every year in Ireland, there isn’t a family in the country that hasn’t been touched by it in some way.

The biggest causes of brain injury that we see are from stroke, road traffic accidents, falls, tumours and assault. We hear every day about the crisis situation in our acute health services but what about the people who have survived a massive trauma like brain injury? We need to fight for them too.”

According to Acquired Brain Injury Ireland, an appalling lack of neuro rehabilitation services is devastating thousands of brain injury survivors and their families across the country who are left merely to exist.

The national brain injury charity said that despite more people surviving the major trauma of a brain injury, many young survivors are forced to live indefinitely in nursing homes or community hospitals without access to any rehabilitation to aid their recovery.

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland is calling on election candidates to prioritise investment in neuro-rehabilitation in 2020. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people in Ireland are living with the consequences of brain injury at any given time.

The charity is calling for:

  • €2m annual investment to sustain Acquired Brain Injury Ireland into the future
  • €5m to develop a regional neuro-rehabilitation centre
  • €0.5m to provide a basic case management service nationally

Benefits of community neuro-rehabilitation:

  • Improved quality of life and independence
  • Better health outcomes
  • Reduced social and economic isolation
  • Reduced stress on national health system
  • Reduced stress on families as caregivers

Benefit of investment in new regional neuro-rehab centre:

  • Free up acute hospital beds
  • Free up places in National Rehabilitation Hospital
  • Save time and money across health system by improving flow of brain injury survivors from hospital to home

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland is the nation’s leading provider of community rehabilitation for those of working age (18-65 years) living with and recovering from an acquired brain injury. For more information or to support Acquired Brain Injury Ireland visit www.abiireland.ie

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