Coronavirus and your brain: More about staying safe in difficult times
What is an ABI?
In our last article we looked at how the coronavirus pandemic may be affecting the lives of those with an acquired brain injury (ABI). ABI is a term which generally covers any injury to the brain caused after birth, other than congenital or degenerative disease. ABI normally occurs in one of two ways. ABI can be caused by an external physical source, such as a blow to the head of the type we might see in a road traffic accident, an accident at work, a fall at home or as the result of an assault. These types of injuries are often referred to as ‘traumatic brain injuries’ (TBI). The other cause of ABI is illness or disease, so brain tumours, encephalitis, meningitis and illnesses that affect the function of the brain. These are commonly regarded as non-traumatic brain injuries but are still ABIs.
That does not mean that if you suffer a brain injury before or during birth, or suffer from Huntington’s disease or dementia, that you do not need help and support in the same way as any ABI sufferer. However, it may well be that the care and treatment you require is specific to your condition and is not usually provided within the ABI framework.
Those with ABI may be vulnerable in the current climate, where there may be problems with care and support, social isolation or the risk of becoming a victim of crime. In our last article, we shared links to charities such as Headway, who provide guidance and support to a wide range of individuals with ABI. It is hoped that those resources will provide practical solutions and reduce anxieties.
Resources for non-traumatic brain injury
Other charities offer a more specific and focused service, providing expertise in relation to a particular type of ABI. For example, The Encephalitis Society, with whom we work closely, is providing fantastic information via their website and support by telephone and e-mail for those with encephalitis who have concerns about Coronavirus. Not surprisingly, they are leading the field in this respect, with Professor Tom Solomon as their President, a world authority on infectious disease and much in demand at the BBC for his insight into the current pandemic, including an appearance on Question Time
Another great charity doing amazing work with a specific group of ABI clients is Brain Tumour Support, who have excellent resources available through their website and are busy manning their support lines, ensuring that there is always someone at the end of a phone line for individuals and their families to turn to even in these most difficult of times.
The charitable sector is shouldering the burden at a time when the focus of the NHS and care services may, understandably, be elsewhere. It should not be overlooked that those same charities are themselves suffering, with income plummeting due to the cancellation of all fundraising events until further notice. If you are in the fortunate position of being able to offer a charity some financial support, now is the time to do so.
If you need help and support for you or a family member as a result of an acquired brain injury, do check out the resources available. If you are having difficulty contacting any of the charities we have mentioned, our experienced brain injury lawyers at Clarke Willmott can always signpost you to the nearest available service.