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					                                      BRAIN INJURY
                                            Fact Sheet 1
                   WHAT IS IT AND HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?

Brain injury is also known as:                         Brain Injury Can Have Serious Effects
      Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
      Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)                    As the brain is involved in just about everything
      Head Injury                                     we do, injury to the brain can have a very wide
                                                       range of effects.
BRAIN INJURY: A DEFINITION                             The effects will vary from one person to
                                                       another, depending on the exact nature of the
Brain injury can happen to anyone at any time.
                                                       brain injury and its severity. They can include
It is defined as a loss of brain function. Brain
                                                       physical effects (eg on movement, vision,
injury is caused either by sustaining an injury to
                                                       touch or taste), cognitive effects (eg on
the head or by having an illness that causes
                                                       thinking processes such as memory and
brain injury
                                                       concentration) and effects on behaviour (eg
                                                       self-control, motivation etc).
It can be caused by:
Accidents                                              A person with a brain injury often looks
          Road Traffic accident
                                                       well and fully recovered. However the
          Sport / work related accident
                                                       difficulties they face are caused by
          Assaults
                                                       damage to the person’s brain function.
          Falls
                                                       You may see effects such as:
Poisoning
          Drinking too much alcohol                        Poor memory
          Overuse of prescribed drugs                      Easily distracted, poor concentration
          Use of illegal drugs
                                                            Difficulty dealing with more than one
Stroke                                                        thing at a time
          Rupture of a blood vessel in the
           brain                                            Greatly reduced stamina – tires easily
          Blockage of blood supply to the brain            Hypersensitivity to crowds, light, noise
                                                              and temperature
Brain Tumours
          Cancerous or non-cancerous                       Emotional reactions may be
                                                              inappropriate and exaggerated
Infections
          Meningitis                                       Works and thinks at a slower pace
          Encephalitis                                       especially when learning something new
                                                            Can appear poorly motivated
Lack of Oxygen
          Near drowning                                    Has a limited insight into own behaviour
          Severe asthma attack                               and ability
                                                            Restricted movement, poor balance or
                                                              physical weakness

               Reference: Powell, T. (1994) Head Injury: A Practical Guide. Winslow Press.
                               BRAIN INJURY
                                      Fact Sheet 2
      CHANGES THAT MAY RESULT FROM A BRAIN INJURY

Brain Injury can result in a wide
range of changes to a person’s
                                              Personality Changes
behaviour, their sensitivity to their
                                                 The person may not believe they
surroundings and their thinking
capabilities.                                     have changed.
                                              Example: They may remember a lot
   Some changes are permanent                about what they used to do and believe
   Some changes are temporary                they can still do everything. Even when
                                              tests confirm they have lost the skills,
                                              they might not believe it is true and
Which changes are                             blame others for the difficulties.
Permanent?
                                                The person may have difficulty
When a person sustains a brain injury it is      taking others needs into
impossible to predict how much they will         consideration
recover and how long it will take. There is   Example: Becoming annoyed and
no formula to tell you which results are      aggressive if they are not served
permanent and which are temporary.            immediately on entering a shop or a
                                              bank
Advances in medical technology mean
that people who, in the past would have          The person may become very
died from their brain injury, are now             talkative
surviving.                                    Example: Finding it difficult to stay
                                              focused on one point and jumping from
Generally, the more serious the injury, the
                                              one thing to the next in a conversation.
greater the impact is on the person and
the more difficult the rehabilitation
                                                The person may become quieter
process.
                                              Example: Being less interested in
Although some people do not recover           conversation or have difficulty finding
completely, some do and those who do          words.
not can continue to make progress for
many years.                                       The person may constantly rush into
                                                   things and act impulsively
                                              Example: They may take on a DIY job
                                              without thinking it through in terms of the
                                              skills they need how much time it will
                                              take or how much it will cost.
Personality Changes –                                 Thinking & Learning
continued                                             Changes
   The person may have less control                      Memory.
    over emotions                                     Short term memory problems will lead to
Example: Laughing or crying at the                    ‘forgetting’ everyday things, for example a
slightest suggestion of joy or sadness.               name, what you went into a shop for or
                                                      what you have just been taught. Loss of
   The person may make inappropriate                 long term memory may mean that you
    sexual advances.                                  don’t remember events that happened
This may lead to varying degrees of                   long ago.
annoyance of others or simply very
                                                         Concentration.
embarrassing situations where
friendships and trusts are lost.                      There may be difficulty focusing on one
                                                      task at a time, may switch from one thing
                                                      to another a lot and can be easily
   The person may be quick to anger
                                                      distracted by noise or movements in the
Example: A loud noise or someone
                                                      background.
disagreeing with them may trigger an
outburst of aggression that seems to be                  Problem solving and decision making.
out of character or beyond the control of             The person may have difficulty
the individual.                                       understanding the effects of their actions
                                                      and make the same mistake repeatedly,
                                                      not able to understand what is causing
Physical Changes                                      the problem.

  Loss of sight or hearing.                             Understanding things.
This may be complete or partial loss.                 The person may have difficulty taking
                                                      phone messages accurately or reading
   Reduced control of movement                       things.
The person’s ability to do some
movements may be reduced or lost, due                   Sequencing.
to paralysis of the muscle (motor loss)               Getting all the steps in the right order to
or poor awareness of the movement                     cook a meal or change a tyre.
(sensory loss)
                                                         Saying what they mean.
    Speech difficulties                              The person may have trouble finding the
The person may speak or sound                         right words, using the right body language
differently. It may be difficult to make              or getting to the point
out what they are trying to say
                                                         Slow to respond.
  Fatigue.                                           It may take longer than usual to
                                                      understand and respond to what is going
The person may get tired very quickly
                                                      on, such as, getting a joke or just replying
and require several rests throughout the
                                                      to a request.
day.
    Reference: www.tbiguide.com . Powell, T. (1996) Head Injury: A Practical Guide. Winslow Press.
                                      BRAIN INJURY
                                               Fact Sheet 3
      USE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS AFTER A BRAIN INJURY

     Any type of substance, whether alcohol or drugs, can affect brain
    functioning for all individuals, whether they have had a brain injury
    or not. For those who have had brain injuries the effects of alcohol
                           and drugs are magnified

                       Impact of drugs or alcohol on recovery

   People who begin or continue to use                        Brain injuries can cause problems in
    alcohol or drugs after a brain injury                       balance, walking or talking that
    don’t recover as quickly or as                              worsen when using alcohol or drugs.
    completely.                                              People whose brain injury has
Due to lost brain cells in an injury,                        caused difficulties with balance,
the remaining cells must work harder                         movement and speech, will further
for the person to do the same                                reduce ability in these areas when
activities as they did before the                            they take alcohol and drugs
injury. If the remaining cells are
affected by alcohol or drugs they will                          After a brain injury, drinking alcohol
not be able to take over the work of                             or using drugs can cause a seizure.
the dead cells.                                              Some people with a brain injury have
                                                             an increased risk of seizures. Alcohol
   After a brain injury alcohol and other                   and other drugs increase the
    drugs have a more powerful effect.                       chances that even those at the lower
The impact of drinking or use of                             level of risk will have a seizure.
illegal drugs may have a quicker and
more exaggerated impact than                                    People who use alcohol or drugs
before.                                                          after a brain injury are more likely to
                                                                 have another brain injury.
   People with brain injury are more                        A person who has difficulty thinking
    likely to feel low or depressed.                         clearly, walking or reacting quickly
Drinking alcohol (a depressant), or                          due to their brain injury is 3 times
taking drugs, makes this problem                             more likely to have another injury.
worse.                                                       People who use alcohol or drugs
                                                             have an even higher risk of another
                                                             injury.
          Reference: BIAUSA.org Family Guide to the Use of Alcohol and other substances after Brain Injury
                                 BRAIN INJURY
                                          Fact Sheet 4
                        DRIVING AFTER BRAIN INJURY

Driving is quite a complex activity. You          What do you need to do if you have had a
may need to be able to:                           brain injury and want to drive?
   Concentrate well
   React quickly                                 By law you must:
   Make quick decisions
                                                     Inform the Driving Vehicles Licensing
   Plan ahead
   Remember road rules                               Northern Ireland (DVLNI) that you had a
   Have good visual skills                           brain injury
                                                     Inform your insurance company you had
   Physically operate the car
                                                      a brain injury – or you will not be
                                                      covered.
These skills can be affected by a brain              Stop driving until you have discussed it
injury                                                with your G.P.
                                                     If you are learning to drive for the first
Difficulties with driving can include:                time you must tell the DVLNI and the
   Feeling less confident                            insurance company you had a brain
   Tiring quickly when driving                       injury
   Difficult to manage busy traffic
   Inability to react as quickly in an           You may want to contact Disability Action,
    emergency as you did before                   who provide special driving assessments,
     your brain injury                            give lessons and advice on adapting a car to
   Problems positioning the car                  suit you.
    correctly on the road.
   Sometimes not seeing other                    What happens next?
    cars or pedestrians                            The DVLNI will send a medical form for
   Difficulty turning the steering                 your GP to fill in
    wheel with both hands                          The DVLNI may need other information
   Difficulty operating the brake                  from your GP or hospital consultant
    or accelerator
                                                  The DVLNI will decide:-
                                                  A. If necessary to withdraw your licence
REMEMBER!!                                        B. If you need to take a special driving
Alcohol will affect you more than before your        assessment with Disability Action
brain injury                                      C. To make your licence valid for a limited
Check if your medication affects your driving        Period
Tiredness can be a problem that affects           D. To allow you to keep your full licence
driving.
                                                  CONTACTS
DO NOT DRINK & DRIVE                              DVLNI General Enquiries 028 7034 1469
                                                  Disability Action 028 9029 7880


                   Reference: DVLNI, Down Lisburn Community Brain Injury Team
                                   BRAIN INJURY
                                            Fact Sheet 5
             The Cedar Foundation Brain Injury Services

        Vocational Rehabilitation                                      GENERAL ENQUIRIES
                                                                       Telephone 028 9061 2424
                                                                       bis@cedar-foundation.org
Participants benefit from support and specialist training to
increase personal choices through achieving goals of                   Vocational Rehabilitation
employment, voluntary work and education after Brain
Injury.                                                                NORTHERN
                                                                       Telephone 028 2565 9111
The service is aimed at people who are over 16 years                   bisnorthern@cedar-foundation.org
with an acquired Brain Injury and are motivated to
achieve vocational goals. The programme is time-limited                WESTERN
and flexible to suit individual need.                                  Telephone 028 7136 0136 (Foyle)
                                                                       Or 028 6632 4400 (Sperrin Lakeland)
The programme offers training in Employability Skills and              biswestern@cedar-foundation.org
Preparation for Work in-house. It supports people to try
out work tasters, sourcing voluntary work roles or                     SOUTHERN
accessing paid employment. It also assists people to                   Telephone 028 3026 3791
gain recognised qualifications through attendance at local             bissouthern@cedar-foundation.org
colleges and training organisations.
                                                                       SOUTH EASTERN
                                                                       Telephone 028 9262 9071
                Floating Support                                       bissoutheastern@cedar-foundation.org
This service provides support to individuals living in their
own homes to carry out their housing responsibilities as               BELFAST
independently as possible and maintain their tenancy.                  Telephone 028 9061 2424
                                                                       bisbelfast@cedar-foundation.org
A plan is agreed with each individual for up to 6 hours
support per week and typically lasts for 6 – 9 months. It
aims to provide assistance to carry out tenancy                        Floating Support
responsibilities, have good home safety routines, budget
effectively and source information and advice relevant to              Telephone 028 9061 2424
effective housing management and living independently.                 fs@cedar-foundation.org

     The Cedar Foundation works closely with the local
    Community Brain Injury Teams and other professionals
                in the services it provides.




   This project is part financed by the European Social Fund and the Department for Employment and Learning

				
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