A Suffolk-based charitable organisation has played a key role in developing a new national online brain injury service directory which has been launched.
Optua UK has helped to develop BrainNav In partnership with the UK Acquired Brain Injury Forum and Thompsons Solicitors.
The new site has been developed to fill a gap in information available about Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) resources in the UK.
Optua UK was set up by Suffolk charity Optua to be able to provide specialist community brain injury services and now works with people in East Anglia, Shropshire and other parts of the country.
A brain injury survivor has welcomed the launch of BrainNav – which he says would have dramatically improved his access to rehabilitation services when he suffered a brain aneurysm.
Steve Garratt received very little rehabilitation therapy or access to information following an aneurysm in 2009 and says BrainNav, which has been launched, would have really helped him on his road to recovery.
Mr Garratt said: “I spent nine weeks in hospital but received nothing in terms of therapy. I had very little help when I came out as well – a bit with my walking, but other than that I was pretty much left to get on with things on my own.
“I definitely could have done with more guidance, especially at the beginning, when I lost my speech.
“You can’t imagine how frustrating it was to sit in hospital and not be able to talk to the people who came to visit me, even my own kids.
“It was soul destroying.
“BrainNav could have made a real difference to me.”
William Challis, head of services of Optua UK, said: “For ABI survivors, being able to find the right services at the right time is vital, but it has never been straightforward until now.
“We set out to ensure that people can find details quickly and easily of the support services which are available.
“It’s not easy caring for a loved one who has suffered such trauma, but BrainNav is going to be an invaluable tool for those who do.”
BrainNav will offer survivors of acquired brain injury a database of services tailored to meet their specific needs.
The online directory at www.brainnav.info will provide people with a national directory of rehabilitation centres, cognitive therapists, clinics, and other specialist facilities, to help support both them and their carers, and ultimately assist in their recovery process.
It has been created to help people who have acquired a brain injury find the right service to aid their journey through rehabilitation, and will enable improved access to appropriate brain injury services in both the user’s local area and across the UK.
As well as search options for brain injury survivors and their carers, there is also a search option for healthcare professionals.
Service information hosted on BrainNav is provided by regional brain injury forums.
Service providers and users can add a service listing by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is anticipated that the contents will grow significantly over the next few months as use of the site increases.
Professor Mike Barnes is chairman of UKABIF, which aims to raise awareness of acquired brain injury: “Cases like Steve’s show just how important BrainNav is going to be.
“This is a man who received no outreach support, in fact practically no help whatsoever for the first six months after his injury.
“Delays in receiving rehabilitation can have a serious, long-term impact on recovery. BrainNav aims to combat this by empowering survivors and their carers with access to relevant information.”
Peter Mulhern, national head of serious injuries at Thompsons Solicitors, added: “BrainNav is set to become the leading directory of services for acquired brain injury.
“It’s a crucial development in the field, and one, which will change the way survivors and their carers approach the rehabilitation process.
For more information visit www.brainnav.info
For all the latest news see Thursday’s (November 29) Echo.