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About the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Network

The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Network is primarily focused on improving health and social participation outcomes for children, young people and adults of working age with severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and families. This is done by working collaboratively with clinicians and others engaged in providing specialist rehabilitation services, consumers and the broader community to research, develop and support the implementation of system wide opportunities.

Brain Injury

In NSW, over 100,000 people currently have a brain injury. Over 1,000 people each year sustain a traumatic brain injury and experience long-term disability. Causes of traumatic brain injuries include external events such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, assaults, sporting accidents or blows to the head. Non-traumatic brain injury is caused by internal events such as a stroke, lack of oxygen to the brain resulting from ruptured or blocked blood vessels in the brain, brain tumours, poisoning or infections such as meningitis. The needs of patients with brain injury are complex and not quickly resolved. Multidisciplinary teams are needed to provide long term therapy. Team members collaborate closely to ensure care is focused and integrated. Most units provide therapy and supportive counselling for patients and their families to help them rebuild their lives.

Highly specialised adult in-patient care is provided at the following major centres:

  • Royal Rehabilitation Centre
  • Westmead Hospital
  • Liverpool Hospital

Paediatric in-patient services are provided at:

  • Westmead Children's Hospital - Westmead
  • Sydney Children's Hospital - Randwick

Our People

Adeline Hodgkinson

Adeline Hodgkinson, Co-Chair
Director, Brain Injury Unit
Liverpol Hospital
South West Sydney Local Health District

Chris Catchpole

Chris Catchpole, Co-Chair
Service Manager
Hunter Brain Injury Service
Hunter New England Local Health District

The ACI Brain Injury Rehabilitation Network (Brain Injury Rehabilitation Directorate) is led by an executive committee which includes consumers and representatives from metropolitan and rural adult and paediatric brain injury services of the NSW Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program (BIRP).

The NSW BIRP is a network of 14 metropolitan and rural inpatient, transitional and community specialist rehabilitation services for children, young people and adults following a severe traumatic brain injury.

The network has more than 200 members and includes representatives from NSW and national consumer organisations, doctors, nurses, allied health clinicians, managers, researchers and other staff working in the NSW BIRP and clinicians in non-BIRP services and private practice. The network is strengthened by NSW and interstate representatives from government and non-government services.

Priorities

  • To improve access to care for people returning to rural and remote NSW after a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI).
  • To improve management of challenging behaviour among adult and paediatric clients of the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program (BIRP).
  • To use information gained from funded projects to improve clinical practice and rehabilitation outcomes for the client by working to implement project recommendations.
  • To work collaboratively with partner agencies to implement the Interagency Agreement on the Care and Support Pathways for people with acquired brain injury.
  • To implement a consistent evidence-based approach to measuring outcomes for clients admitted to the NSW BIRP.
  • To support clinicians working in the 14 NSW BIRP services by developing strategies to translate research knowledge into therapy practice.
  • To develop evidence-based education resources and to provide training opportunities for clinicians.

Achievements

  • Engaging a multidisciplinary network of consumers and clinicians to investigate service needs and influencing policies and practices to ensure that service systems are responsive to individual and family needs.
  • Establishing formal referral networks for greater metropolitan and regional areas to improve equity of access to brain injury rehabilitation services.
  • Supporting and using a clinical data set involving all 14 brain injury rehabilitation units of the NSW Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program (BIRP).
  • Evaluating the current model of service delivery including trialing and using standardised measures of outcome for people with traumatic brain injury.
  • Publishing a resource for transition of adolescents to adult services.
  • Developing e-learning resources to improve understanding and knowledge for working with people with brain injury and families.
  • Publishing and distributing consumer booklets There’s Always HOPE, just alter the DREAMS and Courage to Care.
  • Publishing an Information Package for Physiotherapy for acute care of traumatic brain injury.
  • Publication of the Motor Accident Authority (MAA) Guidelines for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury following closed head injury for general practitioners.

Background

The ACI Brain Injury Rehabilitation Network (Brain Injury Rehabilitation Directorate) works with consumers and clinicians from adult and paediatric Brain Injury Rehabilitation Program (BIRP) services to indentify how and where improvements are needed to deliver safer and better rehabilitation services for people admitted to the network.

In 2002 the NSW Brain Injury Rehabilitation Directorate was included as a clinical network of the ACI’s predecessor the Greater Metropolitan Clinical Taskforce.

The NSW BIRP was established in 1990 as a joint initiative between the former NSW Department of Health (now the NSW Ministry of Health) and the Government Insurance Office (GIO). The organisation was charged with being a specialist network providing rehabilitation services to adults, young people, children and their families affected by a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Brain Injury Rehabilitation Network

Contact

Barbara Strettles
Brain Injury Rehabilitation Network Manager