Abi Café

Independent Advocacy and Acquired Brain Injury

Independent advocacy is a way to help you to make your voice stronger and to have as much control as possible over your own life. Advocacy Workers do not make decisions on your behalf and they will not put words in your mouth. Independent Advocacy will help you get the information you need to make good choices, and give you the help you need to express yourself clearly.

Someone affected by an Acquired Brain Injury may require Independent Advocacy support for any number of reasons: they may need support in care and support planning, communicating with all the various services they need to access, or they may want help to plan for the future. The enduring after-effects of a brain injury may mean that the person will be subject to legislation like Adults with Incapacity, Mental Health Act, or they may have to engage with family law or Social Work services. Independent Advocacy can support you to deal with all of these things.

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is an injury to the brain that has occurred since birth. There are many different types of injury which fit into the category, injury following falls and assaults, road traffic accidents, stroke, brain tumours, and brain damage following hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), poisoning or medical accidents. Congenital brain damage or birth defects are not usually regarded as Acquired Brain Injuries.

The brain controls almost everything about a person: their bodily functions; their personality; their movement and sensation; their ability to communicate; their ability to think and remember; and their emotions and moods. An Acquired Brain Injury can have a devastating effect on any or all of these things, and unlike an injury to the rest of the body it may not leave a visual clue: many Acquired Brain Injuries are hidden disabilities.

According to official figures, Acquired Brain Injury affects between approximately 290 and 330 per 100,000 people in the UK, although some studies suggest that the real figures may be higher. More than 2/3 of ABIs happen to men, and there is a strong correlation with social deprivation, alcohol use and Acquired Brain Injury.

There is a good prognosis for recovery after an Acquired Brain Injury, but time is a factor: the sooner the process of rehabilitation and readjustment starts, the more complete the recovery is likely to be.

Other Support for people affected by ABI

There is a charity called Headway which offers information, advice and support to people affected by Acquired Brain Injury. Headway also run local groups in many locations across the country. Headway offers a free telephone helpline from Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm, on 0808 800 2244, or you can email them on helpline@headway.org.uk.

Ceartas Advocacy works with Headway Glasgow to facilitate a monthly ABI social and support group called ABI Café, which is held in Kirkintilloch in the café of the Baptist Church. The venue is fully accessible, for more information please contact Pam Thomson at Ceartas Advocacy on 0141 775 0433, or email pthomson@ceartas.org.uk.