This follows a survey of more than 1,000 respondents conducted by Headway that showed that 57 per cent of those injured since 2018 had seen face-to-face services stopped.
This is doubly worrying since it means vital rehabilitation which often has the biggest impact during the first two years of recovery has fallen away and skills such as talking, essential for future independence, may regress, but also means that important personal interaction provided by such therapies has also stopped.
Feeling isolated during lockdown was bad enough for anyone, but for people also dealing with a brain injury, the effect can be catastrophic. The survey also found that about 60 per cent of respondents said their anxiety and depression had increased and they felt more socially isolated.
Right at the beginning of lockdown, head of personal injury Jill Greenfield raised exactly these concerns – that clients, some of whom were sent home from hospital early to protect them from the virus, would slip through the net in terms of treatment at home.
“Trying to cope in this new world is incredibly difficult for all of us, but especially for people who are so vulnerable and rely on help so much," Jill said. "The whole team has pulled out all the stops to continue to provide as much as help and support as possible via online therapy and basically letting clients know we are all still here."
Partner Jennifer Buchanan said it had been 'extremely hard' on clients. "I have one client who has really struggled to cope and is still not accepting treatment because she is so worried about infecting her elderly parents," she said. "Plus online platforms such as Zoom can be too challenging to use for people with a brain injury."
Headway, which created virtual support groups for people unable to use drop-in centres, is also worried about the future of some of the services it provides, which are funded by local authorities. It reported that just 4 per cent of English councils were confident their 2020/21 budgets could cover such support.
Jill said that therapists and carers were beginning to be able to go back into people's home, complying with safety guidelines. She also said the team would continue to work hard with insurers where appropriate to put in place rehabilitation packages so that vital treatments could resume.
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