June is brain injury awareness month

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Jun. 01, 2011

A mural was created to mark the 10th anniversary of the Neurobehavioural Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) at St. Joseph’s Parkwood Hospital.  NRC participants and staff members worked together on this vibrant artwork that symbolizes the care journey of those with an acquired brain injury.

The mural’s colours graduate from dark to light to represent hope.  NRC participants contributed the words on the weeping willow tree’s branches including support, determination and accomplishment. The mural’s sunrise, birds, flowers, pond, and park bench all hold special meaning for participants. One participant commented,” It transformed a blank wall into a beautiful picture that captures so many aspects of our journey to recovery.”

The NRC offers an inpatient program for those over 16 years of age with an acquired brain injury and moderate to severe behaviour problems. “In the NRC’s home-like environment participants are taught positive behaviour, adaptive living, and vocational and leisure skills to enhance their quality of life,” says Barb Thomas, senior rehab therapist. A self-contained, fully appointed apartment affords family stays, training and education and helps participants prepare for independent living.

Interested members of the media are invited to come to the NRC to view the mural and speak with an acquired brain injury expert and a program participant.

Please see the backgrounder below for information on brain injuries, and the services offered at Parkwood Hospital, which is part of the St. Joseph’s Health Care, London family of services which extend throughout Southwestern Ontario.

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For more information, please contact:
Anne Kay, Communication and Public Affairs
St. Joseph’s Health Care, London
Phone: 519 685-4292 ext. 42470, or pager 519-649-9238

St. Joseph’s Health Care, London is a major patient care, teaching and research centre with a distinguished legacy of service to London, Southwestern Ontario and the veterans of Canada, dating back more than 130 years. St. Joseph’s five key role areas include acute/ambulatory care, complex care and veterans care, long-term care, rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics and specialized mental health care. Facilities and services including St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Hospital, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care and Regional Mental Health Care London and St. Thomas are part of the St. Joseph’s family. Our research arm, the Lawson Health Research Institute, continues to direct their research to the development of new knowledge that is continually being applied directly to patient care. More than 400,000 patients annually receive care from close to 6,000 physicians and staff at St. Joseph’s. St. Joseph’s is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario.

Backgrounder – Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

St. Joseph’s Health Care London’s ABI Outreach Program
The ABI Outreach Program is one component of rehabilitation offered by Parkwood Hospital to people with an acquired brain injury.

Parkwood’s ABI Outreach Program provides support, consultation, training and education to residents of Southwestern Ontario over the age of 16 who have an acquired brain injury (ABI), and their families, caregivers and service providers such as long-term care facilities or community agencies.

These services are time-limited, goal-oriented and, in the interest of reintegrating and maintaining individuals with an ABI in their own community, the program partners with and complements existing local services.

In addition, time-limited and goal-focused direct services are also provided to people with an ABI in the absence of informal and formal support systems.  Services are offered throughout the 10 counties of Southwestern Ontario: Essex, Lambton, Middlesex, Elgin, Kent, Oxford, Huron, Perth, Bruce and Grey.

The program is comprised of a transdisciplinary team of rehabilitation professionals knowledgeable in the neurocognitive and neurobehavioural consequences of an ABI. Team members have extensive experience in functional brain injury rehabilitation and education in both institutional and community settings.

Other components of St. Joseph’s acquired brain injury services: Neurobehavioural Rehabilitation Centre, ABI inpatient unit, ABI outpatient services, and the Neurotrauma Rehab/Driving Assessment and Rehab Program. For more information: http://www.sjhc.london.on.ca/parkwood/programs/rehab/rehab.htm#brain

Brain Injury Facts
Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is caused by traumatic and non-traumatic events that injure the brain.

  1. The leading causes of brain injury are: falls, motor vehicle accidents, being struck by or striking a hard object, assaults or violence, blasts or explosions
  2. Groups with the highest risk factors for traumatic brain injury include:
    • Males - about 1.5 times as likely as females to sustain a brain injury
    • Young children or teenagers - especially infants to 4-year-olds and 15–19-year-olds
    • Certain military personnel - for example, paratroopers
  3. Acquired brain injury commonly leads to a change in neuron activity. This change affects one or more areas including cognition, speech-language communication, memory, attention and concentration, reasoning, abstract thinking, physical functions, psychosocial behavior, and information processing.
  4. In Canada:
    • approximately 50,000 people per year are hospitalized with brain injuries.
    • over 11,000 people die as a result of a traumatic brain injury (over 4,000 will die in Ontario alone).
  5. Brain Injury can vary from mild (concussion) to severe (deep coma). Depending on the severity of the injury, some may recover after a period of rest. Others will require a lifetime of support. Annually, over 6,000 Canadians become permanently disabled after a traumatic brain injury.

The Human Brain:

  • is about 2% of your body weight, approximately 14cm wide, 17cm long and 9cm high and is made up of approximately 75% water
  • generates more electrical impulses in one day than all of the worlds’ telephones put together

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