Remote Services launched in light of coronavirus
7 April 2020
Local brain injury charity Headway Birmingham & Solihull may have had to close the doors of its brain injury centres in response to the spread of coronavirus, but it is not letting the global epidemic stop it doing all that it can to support those with brain injury.
The charity closed its specialist day centres (in Rednal, Moseley and Wylde Green) and the majority of its community support on Friday 20 March, and these will remain closed in line with the latest government guidance on the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, determined to provide the best possible service to their brain injured clients and their families, especially at such a difficult time, Headway has launched its new ‘Remote Services’ to help this vulnerable group through the current crisis.
Sue Tyler, CEO at Headway Birmingham & Solihull, who has been with the charity throughout the 30+ years it has been operating, explained: “The decision to suspend services from our brain injury centres was not an easy one as we understood all too well the impact this would have on the lives of our clients.”
The charity runs specialist brain injury social rehabilitation sessions from its three centres, providing those with an acquired brain injury chance to relearn lost skills, develop coping strategies, modify inappropriate behaviours and start mixing socially with others again. Those affected may have a brain injury as a result of a blow to the head (such as a road traffic collision, sporting injury, a fall at home or work or even an assault) or because of a medical condition (such as a stroke, a brain tumour, an aneurism, a haemorrhage or infection).
Headway also provides services supporting people in the community and in their homes to become more independent and access community activities, and offers a wide range of support to the whole family through individual sessions, help with finances and support groups for families/carers and more.
Sue added: “Those we support dread the week-long closure over Christmas and so we knew an extended shut-down would be particularly difficult for them to cope with. We therefore decided to adapt some of our services to ensure our clients are not feeling so isolated and can approach those they know and trust for any help they might need while they are having to stay at home.”
She explained that many people with brain injury are particularly vulnerable. They may have physical disabilities in addition to the cognitive, behavioural and emotional difficulties more often associated with brain injury, and may have other underlying health conditions too. Many dislike change, and do not respond well to new faces or altered routines. A high proportion live alone and do not have family nearby.
“Determined to do everything in our power to minimise the impact, we have set up some temporary Remote Services which will run until life starts to return to normal and we are in a position to re-open our centres.” said Sue.
These new Remote Services include:
An Enquiry Line, that anyone affected by brain injury can call for support, advice and information. This includes existing clients, family members and carers as well as those seeking information for the first time.
Welfare Calls, with Headway staff telephoning clients on a regular basis to check they are okay or whether they need any further support or assistance.
Doorstep Services, where Headway staff will provide help fetching and delivering basic food supplies and medication, or help getting to vital medical appointments.
Online Services, to include daily updates on the charity’s Facebook page with themed activities and more general easy-to-follow advice on staying safe, fit and healthy in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.
Activity Packs, printed packs posted out with activities similar to regular Headway sessions
Sue added: “Our new Remote Services have been running for two weeks now, and are already making that vital difference. Clients have been reassured by the regular contact through the welfare calls, and have welcomed the chance for a chat. Several clients have also received help with their shopping or collecting medication, and many of them are participating in the online activities offered through the Facebook page.”
Like many organisations, the charity has had to furlough a high percentage of its staff and so is reliant on a small number of its dedicated team to deliver these new Remote Services. Headway’s annual Easter Fun Run, its key fundraising event, was also cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
For more information on Headway Birmingham & Solihull and its new Remote services, or to make donation to help the charity through these difficult times, please visit www.headway-bs.org.uk .
Photo 1: Headway Coordinator Ian makes a doorstep visit to client Neil, behind his window.
Photo 2: A typical Headway grocery delivery.
Photo 3: Headway’s message to clients.
For more information
Contact Julie Wedgbury at Headway Birmingham & Solihull at email@example.com or 0121 457 7541.
About Headway Birmingham & Solihull
Headway Birmingham & Solihull is a registered charity helping to improve the lives of those affected by brain injury in the local area. Its aim is to promote greater understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provide information, support and services to the person with the acquired brain injury as well as their family and carers. For full information, visit www.headway-bs.org.uk .