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'No beds outside Dublin' for brain injury survivors

Young brain injury survivors are left languishing in nursing homes and hospitals due to an “appalling lack” of rehabilitation services, according to Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABII).

The national charity said access to vital rehab services is a “lottery” as there are no specialist rehab beds regionally, contrary to requirements outlined in the 2011 Neuro-Rehabilitation Strategy, reiterated in the 2019 Neuro-Rehabilitation Implementation Framework.

Launching its ‘Don’t Save Me, Then Leave Me’ campaign outside Leinster House, ABII chief executive Barbara O’Connell questioned the ethics of saving a life and then robbing the quality of that life by not providing rehabilitation to brain injury survivors.

“Families are pushed to breaking point because of severe under-resourcing of brain injury rehabilitation. The reality is if you have a brain injury outside of Dublin, there are no specialist beds for you,” she said.

Ms O’Connell said they are calling on the Government to support their proposal to establish a regional neuro-rehabilitation centre.

She said the proposal “is in full alignment with the Government’s Sláintecare plan”.

Ian Kelly, a brain injury survivor who attended the launch, told politicians how he was institutionalised for seven years at just 35 years old, without access to rehabilitation, after suffering a brain injury due to complications with diabetes.

Asked if there were any plans to establish a regional neuro-rehab centre, the Department of Health said the implementation framework “will guide the roll-out and implementation of the national Neuro-Rehabilitation Strategy” which sets out a model that “focuses on managing people’s specialist rehabilitation needs in the right place, at the right time, by the right team”.