What is Action for Brain Injury Week?
Action for Brain Injury Week is an awareness week taking place between 28th
September – 4th October 2020 which aims to raise awareness of brain injury and give a voice to those affected by it. Due to the impact of COVID-19 this was postponed from May to September. Leading Brain Injury charities Headway UK and the Child Brain Injury Trust have released their joint campaign this week focusing on memory loss.
What is an Acquired Brain Injury and how does it affect memory loss?
An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is any injury to the brain which has occurred following birth. It includes Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), such as those caused by trauma for example from a road traffic accident, fall or assault, and non-Traumatic Brain Injuries related to other medical conditions including encephalitis, meningitis, stroke, substance abuse, brain tumour and oxygen deprivation resulting from a cardiac arrest or other causes.
Much of the published data relates to Traumatic Brain injury which means that the figures quoted in the diagram (left) underestimate the numbers of people in the UK with an Acquired Brain Injury. However even just based on the number of Traumatic Brain Injuries there are an estimated 1.3 million people living in the UK with a Traumatic Brain Injury whom have related disabilities and therefore an underlying long-term health condition.
One of the largest and most common concerns from brain injury survivors is the profound impact that memory problems can have on their lives and relationships post brain injury. The Memory Loss campaign aims to explore not just the impact of memory loss on relationships but also recovery and returning to work post brain injury.
So, what is memory? People often think of memory as a single skill. However, memory is a not a single skill and instead a number of skills working together simultaneously.
Then what is amnesia? Amnesia means a lack or absence of memory or a failure of some part of the memory systems. Often following a brain injury the person will have a gap of memory around the time of the injury with both retrograde amnesia (i.e. period before the injury) and post traumatic amnesia (i.e. period following the injury) where there will be a gap in continuous memory which will normally not return.
Everybody can experience memory loss in some form throughout their life however memory problems that form following a brain injury are very different from the usual.
Memory loss can severely impact brain injury survivors. Memory loss can make a survivor feel alone, angry or confused and can impact every aspect of their life.
Headway UK Survey
In January 2020 Headway launched a survey to investigate the effects of memory loss which was completed by brain injury survivors or family members or carers acting on their behalf. The survey was completed by 2,150 participants and some of the key findings from the survey are as follows:-
- 70% struggle to recall personal memories.
- 72% of brain injury survivors feel that the people in their life don’t understand their memory problems.
- 81% report that their life would be improved if people had a better understanding of their condition.
- 65% feel personal relationships have been affected.
- 85% experience a negative impact on their life.
In most cases, there are no quick fixes or easy solutions for dealing with memory difficulties and it can be often viewed as unrealistic to expect a lost function to be repaired and regained in its entirety. With this being said, there are practical steps that can be taken which can make a positive difference such as journaling, using lists, alarms, prompts, charts and devising routines. Strategies and steps can vary depending on what works for the specific person and a combination of systems and components can be tried until they find something that works for them.
In addition Neuropsychology provision can both test cognitive function including memory and concentration but also provide treatment and strategies to try and address some of the issues caused by short term memory loss in particular.
How You Can Help
Anybody can get involved with the Memory Loss campaign by sharing Headway and Child Brain Injury Trust’s infographics, images, videos and posts on your social media using the following hashtags:-
To access the Headway UK campaign for further information please visit the Get Involved section here.
To access the Child Brain Injury Trust campaign and further information please visit here.
Headway UK the Brain Injury Association are a fantastic charity that works to improve life after brain injury by providing vital support and information services to those affected. Their services include a Freephone Nurse led helpline, emergency fund and an in depth informative website and award winning publications and fact sheets which can be obtained here.
Headway UK also support a network of Headway Groups and Branches across the country many of which are charities in their own right. These groups and branches provide local help and support to brain injury survivors their families and carers.
Child Brain Injury Trust
The Child Brain Injury Trust is a national charity which provides emotional and practical support to families affected by childhood acquired brain injury across the UK through its team of Child and Family Support Coordinators. Other services include advice, information and training for parents, carers and professionals.
Further information about their services and resources can be found here.
How Burnetts Can Help
There are many possible causes of brain injuries such as a difficult birth, a fall, a blow to the head, a stroke or a brain infection. In these instances, a sufferer may pursue a civil legal action due to the criminal act, negligence or medical negligence of another.
Our specialist Medical Negligence and Serious Injury team works collaboratively alongside the best accredited experts and barristers in this field. Burnetts are committed to providing high quality, accessible legal advice, whilst always ensuring client’s expectations and aims are met with a grounded, accessible and professional service.
If the claim is on behalf of a protected party then our Court of Protection team will also be on hand to assist with the administration of compensation and navigating you through the entire deputyship process.
If you would like to speak to someone within our MNSI team to discuss whether you may have a serious injury or clinical negligence claim then please contact our offices on 01228 552222.