Improving Life After Brain Injury

Brain injury survivors ‘fear for future’ due to lost rehab

More than half of brain injury survivors have lost access to rehabilitation services as a result of lockdown measures and now fear for their futures, according to a new study published by Headway UK.

Early rehabilitation following brain injury can be crucial in helping survivors to regain a degree of independence and relearn lost skills, including walking and talking. But 57% of those who sustained their injuries within the past two years say their access to specialist treatment has been negatively impacted.

A further 64% of those living with the long-term effects of brain injury reported a deterioration in their mental health as a result of the measures implemented to control the spread of COVID-19, while almost two thirds say they now fear for their futures.

The key findings revealed:

  • 57% of people who sustained a brain injury within the past two years reported that their rehabilitation has been negatively impacted
  • Two thirds of respondents reported a negative impact on their psychological wellbeing
  • 62% respondents fear for their future
  • 50% have lost access to vital support that helps them to cope
  • 42% say their rehabilitation has been negatively impacted

Headway UK says that the stark findings highlight the importance of ensuring those affected by brain injury are provided with appropriate physical, psychological and social rehabilitation and support.

Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway UK said: “The results of this study are deeply concerning. The first two years following a brain injury are very important in terms of a patient’s long-term prognosis and any delay to receiving specialist rehabilitation can impact their ability to lead an independent life in the future.

Of equal concern is the short-term impact of the lockdown on survivors and their families.

“The effects of brain injury, such as problems with memory, a lack of insight or difficulties controlling behaviour and emotions, can mean that survivors face significant challenges in understanding and coping with the necessary safeguards put in place to deal with the pandemic.

“This can lead to conflict with other members of public as a result of not remembering the rules around social distancing, or excess pressure and emotional toil being placed on carers and family members.

“Local Headway groups and branches across the UK are going to extraordinary lengths to ensure help remains available to vulnerable individuals and families during the lockdown. Without this help, the figures reported in our study would no doubt have been much worse.

“However, with local authorities under increasing financial pressure, local charities are facing an uphill battle to survive, exacerbating survivors’ fears for the future.

“Unless the government provides local authorities with adequate funding for community-based rehabilitation services, thousands of brain injury survivors and carers will either be left without support or be forced to rely on more costly state-funded care.

Download the full report: The impact of lockdown on brain injury survivors and their families.

Lottery Community Fund

About Brain Injury
Contact Us

Headway Black Country:
Registered charity No: 1089171

A Company Limited by Guarantee Registered in England & Wales:
No: 4001321

Affiliated to Headway – the brain injury association, a registered charity.