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Action for Brain Injury Week 2019: Official opening of new family space area at Belfast’s Regional Acquired Brain Injury Unit

Event Speakers at RABIU
Pictured at the official opening of the family room at the Regional Acquired Brain Injury Unit are (from L-R), Roger Hamill, Neuro Psychologist, Belfast Trust, Aidan Dawson, Director of Specialist Hospitals & Women's Health, Belfast Trust, Joyce Shaw, Neurodisability Services Manager at RABIU, Johny Turnbull, Headway Network Support Manager NI, Pamela Ballentine, Event Speaker, Robbie MacDuff, Event Speaker, Linda MacDuff, Event Speaker, Elaine Armstrong, Director of Employability & Community Inclusion at the Cedar Foundation and Heather Beaumont, Event Speaker

A new family space waiting area at the Regional Acquired Brain Injury Unit was officially opened on Tuesday 21st May to mark Action for Brain Injury Week 2019.

This regional event, organised by Belfast Trust and Headway in partnership with the Health and Social Care Board and Public Health Agency, recognised the valuable contribution and involvement of people living with brain injuries, their carers and families.

At the event speakers from Belfast Trust, the regional Acquired Brain Injury Unit (RABIU), former patients and carers, and, brain injury service providers from across the community and voluntary sectors reflected on the role and importance of RABIU in the rehabilitative journey of brain injury.

Click here for photographs from the event.

Speaking at the event, Johny Turnbull, Network Support Manager for Headway, said, “Our aims during Action for Brain Injury Week are to raise awareness and give a voice to people affected by brain injury. This is demonstrated today as the views of families and carers have directly contributed to the remodelling of the new family space waiting area. Constructive feedback from users of services at RABIU have led to the redesign of an inclusive environment conducive to family and carer support with their practical needs in mind.”

Pamela Ballentine, pictured at the official opening of the family space at RABIU, are Linda and Robbie MacDuff who shared their past experiences of using regional brain injury services at RABIU.

Around 2000 people a year in Northern Ireland sustain, and are living with the long term effects of, brain injury. Symptoms include memory loss, mobility problems, personality changes and behavioural issues and can significantly impact on family members and friends, who live day-to-day with the effects brain injury can have on their loved ones.

Welcoming the partnership approach, David Petticrew, Commissioning Lead at the Health and Social Care Board, said, “Today’s event acknowledges the value we place on working alongside people with real life experience of using brain injury services, and, our partners from the community and voluntary sectors. Through facilitating the co-design and co-production of services we are better placed to provide spaces and facilities that are user focused and practical. This contributes to better experiences for patients and their families ultimately improving outcomes for people with brain injuries.”

Involving patients, carers and service users in the design of the family space demonstrates ongoing commitment to addressing the recommendations of the RQIA Review of Brain Injury Services in Northern Ireland (2015) including the involvement of patients, carers and family members in the future development of brain injury services.

Attendees included brain injury professionals from the Regional Acquired Brain Injury Unit, Belfast Trust, the Health and Social Care Board, Public Health Agency, Headway, Cedar, Brain Injury Matters and the Child Brain Injury Trust

During Action for Brain Injury Week 2019 a range of workshops and events throughout Northern Ireland raised public awareness highlighting the range of health and social care support available for individuals with brain injuries, their families and carers.