Every 90 seconds, a person is admitted to hospital in the UK with a serious brain injury.
In 2013-14, there were 162,544 admissions for head injuries, which equates to one every three minutes – with men being 1.6 times more likely than women to be admitted to hospital with a head injury.
Every brain injury is unique and the wide-ranging effects can be complex and devastate the lives of entire families.
There are many possible causes of acquired brain injury (ABI) – that is to say, injuries sustained since birth – including tumour, encephalitis or the brain being starved of oxygen (e.g. following a heart attack). However, the most common are traumatic brain injuries (TBI) (e.g. falls, road accidents, assaults) and strokes, particularly in older people.
The hidden disability
Although a person may show no physical signs that there is anything wrong following a brain injury, they may suffer from a number of serious and complex issues that can last a lifetime. Many individuals become stripped of their ability to drive, work or live independently as everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and making simple decisions become a challenge. Effects may include physical difficulties (e.g. balance, fatigue, epilepsy), emotional/behavioural changes (e.g. anger, impulsivity, depression) and/or cognitive (e.g. memory, concentration, information processing).
Headway is the UK-wide leading charity that works to improve life after brain injury. Services ranging from rehabilitation programmes and social re-integration to community outreach can be accessed across a network of more than 125 groups and branches across the UK by brain injury survivors, their families and carers, particularly aging carers who may require extra emotional or practical assistance. Although we all think ‘it’ll never happen to me’, a brain injury can affect anyone at any time. When it does, we’re here to help.