17th - 23rd of May 2021 is Action For Brain Injury Awareness Week which aims to raise awareness of brain injury and give a voice to those affected. 

Below are some beneficiary stories to show how POhWER can support people who have an acquired brain injury.

Lois’ Story

Lois has an acquired brain injury and a learning disability. She is currently being treated on a ward at a Brain Injury Integrated Practice Unit (IPU).

Lois was due to move to a new unit at the end of the following month and was having weekly telephone calls with the ward staff who call to update her on the progress of her move.

Kyle, a POhWER advocate, visited Lois and asked how the phone calls were going. Lois told Kyle that she finds she cannot remember what she has been told after the calls and gets frustrated and angry with herself. 

Kyle suggested that she may benefit from someone supporting her during the calls and they agreed that it would also be helpful if notes were taken and written up in an easy read format for her to look at after the call.

They talked through who may be the best person to support with these calls; a member of the ward staff, a Social worker and Kyle as an advocate were all considered. Lois decided to ask Kyle to support her with this issue.

Lois is really happy with the support she receives from Kyle during her calls and the easy read notes that he provides her with afterwards, both help her to remember all that she has been told.

Eric's Story

Eric was admitted to hospital 3 months ago following a brain injury. He was initially very confused and disorientated but made very good progress with his recovery on the brain injury unit.

Eric approached POhWER advocate Kris during a drop in and told her that he is much better now and feels that he no longer needs to be in hospital.

Eric and Kris discussed his options.

  1. To ask his doctor to discharge him from section
  2. To ask his nearest relative to discharge him from section
  3. To apply for a Managers Hearing
  4. To apply for a Tribunal

Kris also informed Eric that he could do all of the above if he wished. Eric decided that he wanted to do all four options and asked Kris to help him.

Kris supported Eric to choose a solicitor and to apply for a Managers Hearing and a Tribunal. Kris gave Eric some information about nearest relative discharge to give to his partner, Sylvia. Kris also discussed with Eric how he could ask his doctor to discharge him from section.

Eric’s doctor was initially reluctant to discharge him from section but, once a tribunal date was given, he agreed to give Eric section 17 leave to visit his home. It was agreed that if this proved successful the doctor would consider lifting the section and discharging Eric from the hospital.

Eric’s doctor expressed concern about the suitability of the accommodation Eric would be returning to as Eric and Sylvia live in a room in a shared house. Kris advised the doctor to write a supporting letter for Eric to take to his local authority explaining the unsuitability of his current accommodation and for Eric to make a housing application on medical grounds. The doctor wrote a letter and Sylvia supported Eric to make the housing application.

Eric has now been discharged from hospital and has returned home. Eric and Sylvia are on the waiting list for more appropriate accommodation. They thanked Kris for her help and support with getting Eric discharged from the hospital.

Jerome's Story

Jerome has a brain injury and uses hearing aids due to severe hearing loss. He is currently in hospital as a patient on a neuro-rehabilitation ward. Neuro-rehabilitation wards provide specialist assessment and intensive rehabilitation services for people with disabilities resulting from a brain injury or other neurological conditions.

During a drop in, POhWER advocate Lorna noticed that Jerome was unable to follow what was happening in the community meeting. She spoke to him after the meeting and he explained that his hearing aids have been lost. Jerome said that he was having a shower and wrapped his hearing aids in a tissue to keep them clean and dry; the cleaner came in and threw the tissue away so he no longer has any hearing aids and cannot hear what is being said.

Lorna explored Jerome’s options with him:

  1. For Lorna to support Jerome to attend a ward round to ask what can be done about replacing the hearing aids
  2. To ask Jerome’s social worker to visit him to discuss this issue further.
  3. To send an email to the Multi-disciplinary Team to ask what was to be done about replacing the hearing aids.

Jerome chose option 1 - the ward round. Jerome asked Lorna to speak on his behalf at the ward round as he would not be able to hear what was being said.

Jerome and Lorna attended the ward round together. Lorna explained the circumstances around the loss of his hearing aids and it transpired that staff were already aware. Lorna asked what was being done to rectify the situation. They were informed that a referral has been made to audiology but there is a long waiting list. Lorna asked if Jerome could go to Specsavers to have a free hearing test as she felt this may be quicker for him. The ward staff asked who would fund the hearing aids and Lorna said that as the hospital staff lost the hearing aids, the hospital should fund the replacements.  This was agreed and Jerome’s Social Worker agreed to arrange an appointment for him to go to Specsavers.

Jerome had a hearing test and his hearing aids were replaced. Jerome thanked Lorna for helping him to resolve his issue, he said it has improved his quality of life and he is now able to participate in ward activities and therapy sessions once again.