An acquired brain injury (ABI) is when the brain is damaged as a result of either an accident (e.g. road traffic accident) or illness (e.g. a stroke / brain tumour / lack of oxygen to the brain). The damage caused can affect all or just some functions of the body and mind.
A person with an ABI may have difficulty with:
- Cognitive skills e.g. memory, problem solving, doing things in the right order
- Communication e.g. understanding or expressing themselves, slurred speech
- Physical skills e.g. walking, getting in and out of bed, co-ordinating movement, lack of awareness of part of the body, difficulty swallowing
- Emotional / behavioural e.g. personality change, anger issues, low mood, lack of motivation.
The effects of the ABI might leave a person reliant on 24 hour care, needing prompting for safety / memory difficulties or reliant on techniques to help them manage difficulties on their own. They might need additional support to get back to work or to live at home on their own. ABI is often described as a “hidden disability” where the person can look “normal” to the outside world but inside they are having difficulties with memory, emotions, concentration, planning, vision etc. This can result in a lack of understanding of their problems, leading to social isolation and reduced engagement in the community. ABI can have a significant impact on the life of the person who sustained the injury and those around them e.g. spouse, children, friends, colleagues.
You can find out more about ABI here