Our brain injury services during COVID-19
Across Priory’s Brain Injury Services, we care for and provide rehabilitation to vulnerable people who have either experienced an acquired or traumatic brain injury or have a progressive neurological condition, such as Huntington’s disease.
We are highly specialised in providing neurobehavioural and neurophysical care and rehabilitation programmes. As the COVID-19 outbreak has unfolded over the past couple of months, our services across the country have been busy adapting their programmes to ensure that patients continue to receive the best possible treatment, in a safe and effective way.
Specialist Director, Debbie Curtis explained, “our teams have come together and have shown great resilience and care during the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue to work together to navigate our ‘new normal’ and ensure care remains as seamless as possible for all our patients.”
We spoke to a few of our neurobehavioural rehabilitation sites who share some of the measures they have put in place.
In this video, Maria Goodman, Hospital Director at Elm Park, discusses how her team has adapted to support their current patients and can continue to assess and admit patients during this challenging time:
Facilitating referrals and admissions
The focus for many of our services has been to adapt and use technology to process admissions as safely and as quickly as possible.
- We are able to offer thorough telephone and / or video conferencing assessments
- At Burton Park, specific isolation beds can be provided on admission
In appropriate circumstances, we can support patients to access short term placements where their community placement has been disrupted by reduced community staffing support.
Keeping in contact with loved ones
Maintaining regular communication with families and loved ones is so important to our patients. Our teams have reacted quickly to ensure patients are able to keep up this contact
- We have had to restrict the number of visitors coming into the services to ensure vulnerable patients are kept safe
- At Burton Park, families were contacted individually to discuss the decision to reduce visitors. A letter was sent as a follow-up with guidance and to highlight alternatives to visits such as FaceTime and Skype
- Many services have implemented video calling technology
- Weekly community meetings where we can discuss communication with families and the COVID-19 scenario with patients
- Staff have had individual sessions with patients to discuss concerns and alleviate any fears they may have about being able to communicate with families
- Families can telephone patients outside of the therapy programme time to maintain contact
Here's an example of how our teams have been working with families: a family was stuck in Spain on lockdown and we worked with them to facilitate contact at a time which suited the family. They reported that this helped them at a time when they were highly stressed and worried about their family member.
Explaining the situation to individuals
Our teams have been involving patients in changes at site and have been communicating with them about COVID-19 and what it means for them.
- We have been supporting residents and patients by using pictures and written posters/handouts to explain how they can contact their loved ones
- At Grafton Manor, their psychologist is developing a group for patients where they talk to patients about COVID-19 and ways they can manage during uncertainty and, if required, self-isolation
Focusing on positivity and wellbeing
It is extremely important that everyone, patients, staff and families, feels supported during this time. Particularly, as restrictions begin to ease, and we all need to adapt to the ‘new normal’.
- The Grafton Manor team are in the process of creating an orientation tree on the wall and a tree of hope, made of people’s hand prints. Their future project will be hand written (with support as needed) cards and letters as well as pictures to send home to family to support more personal contact
- Extra emotional support is being provided for patients and staff alike
- At Grafton Manor, their therapy assistant has been doing a lot of baking sessions which the patients love. They not only enjoy eating the delicious goods, but the process of creating food from scratch
Adapting our rehabilitation programme
Activities that promote independence such as real work opportunities and community-based activities are incredibly important to our patients and residents. We have adapted our programme, where possible, to ensure individuals are still able to access key activities. Some of our sites have:
- Increased hospital-based activities have been organised as community-leave has been restricted
- Organised additional crafts and games, such as football outside within their grounds
Our neurobehavioural rehabilitation services are able to provide specialised support to people with cognitive, emotional, behavioural and co-occurring physical challenges.
For further information on Priory services offered to the NHS, including rehabilitation-focused treatment programmes for those living with a brain injury, please call our dedicated 24/7 customer service centre on 0800 090 1356. Alternatively, click here to submit an enquiry form