NHS trust gives patients hope after a traumatic brain injury

Posted: 15/05/23

Image containing the text Action for Brain Injury Week

Action for Brain Injury Week (16- 22 May) is an annual campaign to raise awareness of the devastating effects of brain injuries.

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), a provider of mental health and disability services, offers services around the region for people with both acquired and traumatic brain injuries.

One of CNTW’s services, Northumberland Head Injuries Service (NHIS), have been providing community-based support to people in Northumberland with traumatic brain injury for close to 30 years. It’s one of a handful of specialist community brain injury services nationwide and serves more than 250 people each year.

The team have produced a video sharing their patients’ personal experiences of recovery, to offer hope to others on the road to recovery and help others understand the impact of traumatic brain injuries.

The term traumatic brain injury (TBI) refers to an injury to the brain caused by an external force. These are typically caused by road traffic accidents, falls and assaults. The term Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) includes traumatic brain injury, but is also used to describe non-traumatic brain injuries which are typically caused by stroke, tumours or a lack of oxygen to the brain.

In the video, patients and their families answer questions such as ‘what did you find the most challenging?’, ‘what did you learn about yourself?’ and ‘what are you looking forward to?’.

Neil Brownlee, head of service at Northumberland Head Injuries Service, says: “Recovering from a traumatic brain injury is different for everyone who experiences it. The changes and challenges people face can vary significantly, depending on the severity of the injury and which parts of the brain have been affected.

“We find that people recovering from a brain injury might get frustrated if their memory and thinking skills aren’t the same as before or if they’re struggling to engage with activities that they used to enjoy.

“We also acknowledge that brain injury impacts on the entire family as well as the individual so we want people to know that things can get better and we’re here to support them and their families through the recovery process.”

How to make a referral to Northumberland Head Injuries service

Referrals are accepted via GP, Healthcare Professionals, Carers or by Self referral.

If you are a health care professional and wish to refer your patient please use the form below

Individuals may self-refer by contacting the service directly by telephone 01670 394 150 or email NHIS@cntw.nhs.uk