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27 July 2020 | Comment | Article by Charlotte Fletcher

The impact of lockdown on brain injury survivors and their families

There can be no doubt that COVID-19 and ‘Lockdown’ have had a significant impact on the lives of everyone in the UK. As restrictions start to ease, brain injury charity Headway has undertaken a survey concerning the impact of lockdown on brain injury survivors and their families.

A large part of the survey focused on individuals who sustained their injuries within the past two years. These are the years when early rehabilitation is crucial to help regain independence and relearn skills which can be affected by brain injury, such as walking and talking.

57% of those surveyed had been denied vital rehabilitation due to the impact of lockdown. 65% felt isolated as a result of lockdown and 62% felt fear for their future. A further 64% of those living with the long term effects of brain injury reported deterioration in their mental health as a result of the lockdown measures.

In their press release, Headway has reported that it is deeply concerned about the results of the study. The charity has highlighted the importance of the first two years following a brain injury to the individual’s long term progress and the impact of any delay in receiving specialist rehabilitation on an individual’s ability to lead an independent life in the future.

Headway also highlighted its concern about the short term impact of the lockdown on brain injury survivors and their families stating:

“The effects of brain injury, such as problems with memory, a lack of insight or difficulties controlling behaviour and emotions, can mean that survivors face significant challenges in understanding and coping with the necessary safeguards put in place to deal with the pandemic.

This can lead to conflict with other members of the public as a result of not remembering the rules around social distancing, or excess pressure and emotional toil being placed on carers and family members.”

As proud supporters of Headway UK and Headway Cardiff and South East Wales, the Neurolaw team at Hugh James is aware of the importance of specialist neurorehabilitation and supports the services that Headway provides, by helping to sponsor outreach worker posts and being heavily involved in fundraising for the charity.

As it suggests in the report, it is imperative that Headway, health, adult social care and other services for people with brain injury and their relatives are supported through this crisis and beyond.

At a time when many local authorities have serious financial concerns, The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has called on the government to commit to a two-year ring-fenced funding settlement to be provided to local authorities to fund adult social care. This recommendation has received the support of Headway.

A full copy of the Headway report can be found here.

Author bio

Charlotte Fletcher is a Senior Associate in the serious injury department and specialises in Court of Protection matters, assisting with providing professional deputy input to those who lack the necessary capacity to manage and administer their own finances.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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