Neurorehabilitation at Psicon (NAP)

Information for Patients and Families

  • What to expect if a loved one has suffered an acquired brain injury

    When an individual suffers an acquired brain injury (ABI), the journey can be complex and can affect not only the individual but their loved ones also. Below you can find some information regarding possible interventions and treatment, as well as complications that may arise. With the right information and support, family and loved ones can often avoid unnecessary complications.

  • Stage 1

    Acute hospitals and specialist units

    Patients with ABI are often admitted to acute hospitals and then could be transferred to specialist neurological units or specialist rehabilitation units. These hospitals can be in another county, and difficulties with limited information and support can complicate the family’s journey in the rehabilitation process.
    Our recommendations should a loved one be admitted to a specialist neurological unit:

    Try to insist on good communication from staff members as much as possible.

    Try to obtain as much information as possible on the nature of the injury and possible consequences.

    Where possible, focus on the emotional support that you can provide to your loved one. Try not to put pressure on them or expect them to ‘try harder’.

    Remember that the journey can be slow and frustrating and that all involved with the individual need to be patient, as recovery after brain injury is a long and complex process and unlike that involved for any other physical injury.

    Families, do not underestimate the value of your presence and support – it is very important.

    After the individual stabilises medically, the initial support will probably focus on physical injuries, such as fractures and wounds, and also difficulties with eating and drinking. Early rehabilitation in hospital may focus on occupational therapy and neuro-physiotherapy as well as speech and language therapy. Cognitive and emotional difficulties are often identified later in the rehabilitation journey.

  • Stage 2

    Inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation services

    After the initial period of hospitalisation, the patient can be discharged home or referred for specialist rehabilitation input. Neurological rehabilitation could be in an inpatient setting or also within the community, close to where the individual lives. Whether rehabilitation is offered within an inpatient unit or within the community, the patient should be provided with a structured rehabilitation programme. This could include clear goals which will allow the patient and families to have clear expectations about what to expect.

    Inpatient rehabilitation for individuals with severe brain injuries can last for long periods. Patients may also be referred to residential transition units, where as part of the rehabilitation they will live more independently and develop living skills to return home. In some cases, individuals will stay in residential units for years before returning home.
  • Stage 3

    Input from a community-based rehab team like NAP

    When patients with severe brain injuries are discharged, they (as well as their families) need to be aware of the uniqueness of recovery and rehabilitation following the brain injury. At this stage of the journey, the importance of the psychological health and wellbeing of the individual cannot be reiterated enough.
    At this stage of the journey, an awareness of the following issues may arise:

    Cognitive and emotional problems (such as memory difficulties, low tolerance and frustration) may be observed by the family for the first time.

    The nature of personal relationships may change and require specialist support.

    Mental health difficulties and changes in personality may become a major challenge, and specialist support may be useful.

    Each individual is different and will present with different challenges. The rehabilitation journey can be a long process. However, a combination of the right specialist support services can help the individual improve to the highest possible level of functioning where he or she will be able to enjoy a good quality of life.

Community-Based Rehabilitation at Psicon

Patients and families can expect the following when entering the next stage of the rehabilitation journey with Psicon:
 

A warm welcome to a service that ensures patients are supported to return to the optimal level of independent functioning

An experience working with a team that is understanding and sensitive to the consequences of a brain injury

An approach to assessment and rehabilitation in which the psychological health and wellbeing of the individual and their family is put first and foremost

The individual’s family and friends, their environment, past history and work, as well as plans and dreams for the future will be considered when formulating a neurological rehabilitation plan

A space in which individuals and their families can have questions and concerns dealt with by expert clinicians with many years of expertise in neurological rehabilitation

Clear communication to ensure that both the patient and family understand the condition and what the prognosis may be

Detailed information on the next steps and access to the relevant healthcare professionals and specialist support services to ensure early rehabilitation input

The Initial Appointment

At Psicon we will offer an initial appointment within 10 days of a referral. In urgent cases we will try to accommodate an appointment much sooner.

When appropriate, the first initial appointment will be with a Consultant Neuropsychologist or Clinical Psychologist and may be short in duration (1 hour) but could also last a full day, which would then include the administration of various neuropsychological tests. The assessor may benefit from having access to all relevant documentation, including medical records. The assessor may also interview a family member or spouse as part of the assessment.

During the appointment, the assessor will gain as much information as possible about the individual’s difficulties and problems. At the end of the appointment, the assessor will provide the patient (as well as the family) with a summary of their findings. After the completion of the assessment, further formal and informal feedback will follow with recommendations for rehabilitation.

Vocational Rehabilitation and Work for Purposeful Activity

Many people who have suffered a moderate to severe brain injury cannot return to their pre-accident employment and continue with the same job as before. In cases of mild to moderate brain injury, it may be possible for individuals to return to their previous work, or to manage aspects of their previous employment. NAP provides individuals with the support they need to return to the optimal level of functioning at work, where possible. It may be that the individual cannot do the exact job as before but they may be able to return to work that is similar to what they did prior to their injury. This is often a priority later in rehabilitation.

  • Psychological Support for Carers and Family

    The Neuropsychologist will lead the psychological support of the client and their family and loved ones. Our professionals at Psicon are very aware of the impact a traumatic brain injury will have on both the individual and significant others in their lives. As a team, we are keen to support ‘the system’, which can include family, friends and significant others such as colleagues and employers. Families play a crucial role in community neurological rehabilitation and in supporting individuals in returning to the highest level of functioning. Family members are often involved together with a therapist and clinician in ensuring an optimal environment and potential for the rehabilitation programme.

Carers and support workers can also be trained and supervised at Psicon. Support programmes can be useful in the following ways:

To help carers and support workers in developing strategies for coping with stressful situations

To prepare carers and support workers for the difficulties that may arise and to assist them in dealing with the complex challenges of patients with brain injuries

To support carers and support workers in sensitively responding to individuals with a brain injury

To enable carers and support workers to successfully contribute to the wider work of the interdisciplinary rehabilitation team

Resources

The brain injury charity Headway provides a comprehensive list of resources, information packs and links to useful organisations. These are aimed at supporting individuals with brain injury and their families at various stages of the rehabilitation journey.

Please click on the options below for more information.