Someone I know has a brain injury

A brain injury affects more than just the individual. It can change relationships in an instant, altering family dynamics and putting emotional strain on all those who love and care for the person who has sustained the injury.

If you know someone who has recently sustained a brain injury, or who is living with the long-term effects, then this page should help you find support or information.

Things to do

Helpline

Contact the Headway helpline on 0808 800 2244Our freephone helpline is another vital source of support and information that you may benefit from. Run by a team of nurses and non-clinical staff with experience and expertise in a variety of areas, the helpline is there for anyone who has a question about brain injury. regardless of the severity of your injury, or if you're a carer, family member or friend. It also exists to provide support to professionals working in the field of brain injury.

You can also contact the team if you would like to discuss any issues with people who understand and who will listen, while signposting you on to other services if appropriate.

For more information on the Headway helpline, click here or call 0808 800 2244 or email helpline@headway.org.uk.

Headway Emergency Fund

Supported by the Stewarts Law Foundation, the Emergency Fund exists to help families and individuals cope with the practical implications of a sudden catastrophic brain injury.

A brain injury can strike at any time, often leaving families without a source of income and facing the daunting prospect of their loved one being treated in a specialist brain injury unit many miles from home.

The purpose of the Headway Emergency Fund is to support families facing an increased financial burden following a brain injury. It can help cover the costs of visiting loved ones in acute care, meet emergency accommodation costs, or provide respite breaks for carers and families.

Headway Acute Trauma Support (HATS)

At Headway, we will aim to support individuals, carers and families at every stage - from the moment a brain injury occurs.

Unless you have experienced it, it is hard to imagine the fear and loneliness of having to sit by the bedside of a loved one who has sustained a potentially devastating brain injury. The fear of whether or not they will survive can be replaced by uncertainty over what sort of recovery they may or may not be able to make, and what sort of life they will live.

HATS nurses provide invaluable support to such families in the acute stage of brain injury. The support they can provide includes helping families to understand medical terminology, providing a listening ear, and signposting to other areas of support and information in and outside of the hospital. HATS nurses can even accompany family members in medical meetings at the family's request.

At present, there are HATS nurses in post in the North West of England and in the West Midlands, while a number of Headway groups provide similar support.

Caring for someone with a brain injury

Who cares for carers? Headway does.

Headway has an extensive range of information and support materials for carers, ranging from booklets and factsheets to local carers' meetings run by our network of groups and branches.

If you are a carer, please ensure you take time to look at the Caring for someone with a brain injury section or to find local services in your area, visit the In your area page.

Online communities

A brain injury can be isolating. It can affect one's ability to lead an active, social life, whether as a result of physical, cognitive or emotional issues, or by virtue of carers have a lack of time for themselves.

Many people also report to Headway that their friends or families simply don't understand what they're going through. They don't see what is hidden.

Headway operates a number of social media channels to connect with people who need our help or want to support our work:

HealthUnlocked logoThe Headway HealthUnlocked community provides a safe and welcoming environment for people directly affected by brain injury - whether living with an injury or caring for someone who does - to come together to provide mutual support. Here, you can talk about anything related to brain injury - from symptoms and rehabilitation to welfare benefits and local services - and get answers and support from people who have been through a similar situations.

Approved care providers

Every brain injury is unique, and there is no one particular route to recovery or indeed accurate way to predict how severely a person will be affected.

While many people are able to make positive recoveries and regain at least some degree of independence after brain injury, many others may need long-term residential care.

Recognising the importance of families having accurate and trustworthy information when searching for an appropriate unit to care for their loved one, Headway established the Approved Provider scheme.

Units claiming to specialise in brain injury can apply to be assessed by Headway against a set of robust criteria. If they meet the charity's exacting standards, they are listed as a Headway Approved Provider.

To find approved providers near you, visit the In your area section of the site.

Legal support

If you have recently sustained a brain injury, you may need to seek expert legal representation. It is vital that you appoint a solicitor with appropriate knowledge and understanding of acquired brain injury.

Our section on legal advice contains guidance on what questions to ask when considering appointing a solicitor, while you can also search for solicitors in your area approved by Headway.