Every brain injury is unique and affects people in different ways

By Aimee Walsh

BRAIN Awareness Week runs from March 15-21 and is an important time to raise awareness and funding for people living with brain injuries and the services that support them, reports Aimee Walsh.

Carmel Shaughnessy, Local Services Manager for Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABII) spoke to The Echo about the services they provide at the residential homes in Tallaght and Lucan.

Jack Doran 07 1

Cherish Faudtino, Jack Doran, Katie Laffiemore and John Gately in the ABII residentail home in Lucan

“We have 15 residential houses, and we have one in Ellensborough in Tallaght and one in Lucan. How that works is, often times people complete their time in the national rehabilitation hospital, but they still require supports and they may not be able to manage being at home independently, so that’s where our assisted living rehabilitation services come in, and we provide support to people.

“We work very closely with them to identify what kind of goals are important for them. For some people it can be getting back to education, some people it may be relearning independent living skills, for other people it can be getting back to work, some people might need to relearn how to drive.

“It is very individual, and we would always sit down with them to do their rehabilitation plans based on the goals they want to achieve”, Carmel explains.

Brain injuries affect up to 19,000 people in Ireland every year, which is 52 people in the country every day. Stroke, road traffic accidents, assaults, falls and brain tumours are the biggest causes of brain injuries. Every brain injury is unique and affects people differently, and many experience difficulties with their memory and fatigue.

“Fatigue is a major one that many of our residents would come across and because they have suffered a brain injury, things that you and I may not notice become very difficult for them and very tiring. Sitting down to study or learn a new activity can be very tiring for that person and they need to learn how to manage that fatigue, especially for those looking to return to work.

“Memory is also another thing a lot of our residents struggle with. Their memory could be very badly affected. We need to look at the different ways of remembering things, for some residents its about repetition, so if they complete a task multiple times, they are able to commit that to their long-term memory, because they might have problems with their short- term memories.

“For others it could be setting alarms or having a task analysis. We have residents that have been successful in using personal assistants such as Alexa because that can prompt them around medication management, appointments, shopping and other people find their phones really helpful for setting reminders,” Says Carmel.

To mark Brain Awareness week 2021, ABII are running a virtual ‘Bake for Brain Injury’.

ABII is asking its Dublin supporters to take their bake virtual this year by hosting an online event or fundraiser between March 15 and 21.

“We would have done physical events, and very much tried to raise awareness in the community, raising awareness for people understanding what we do and what our services are and how brain injury affects everybody.

“This year is very different - we can’t be out and about in the community. We will be doing virtual events. The guys had a bit of experience of virtual fundraising last year, so they are really keen this year to mark brain awareness week and bake for brains.

“They will be linking in with their families and doing virtual bakes all on zoom calls with a cup of tea and coffee and just sharing those experiences online through our fundraising department so that they are helping to raise awareness for it,” Carmel explained.

To sign up for the ‘Bake for Brain Injuries’ go to ABIIreland.

READ MOREJack suffers brain injury after being knocked down by lorry

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