Innovative Pathways for Children and Youth with Acquired Brain Injury in Four European Countries


Eric Hermans and Catherine Aaro Jonsson


Gertrud Wietholt
Michael Radix

Mathilde Chevignard
Peter de Koning


Acquired brain injury (ABI) each year hits numerous children and adolescents and can have detrimental effects on the lives of children and adolescents as well as their families. It is also well documented that the burden on families is high. Whereas acute care in developed countries is well organized and highly effective, follow-up and chronic care is not. Especially in children and youth with moderate or mild ABI, consequences are often misunderstood and attributed to pedagogic, psychosocial or environmental factors, rather than being interpreted in the context of brain injury and development. Health- and support systems do not provide integrated concepts of services in which health care professionals, health care providers, schools, and organizations for support in daily living and work work together in an efficient way.

As a consequence many ABI victims fall through the cracks, get lost in the system and go undetected with a huge cost to the individual and society as a whole.

In this symposium innovative initiatives will be presented from four European countries (The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and France) to meet the shortcomings mentioned above.

The initiatives to be presented in this symposium go into the following:

  • Creation in several regions throughout the country of regional service points from where comprehensive case management is offered to children and youth with traumatic brain injuries. 
  • Design of a specific and comprehensive pathway for children with neurological injuries (mostly ABI) in the Paris area providing a wide range of outreaching services
  • Creation of a national pathway for individualized and lifelong rehabilitation and social support for children and youth with ABI.
  • Development of a nationwide closed chain of care for children and youth with ABI in which the roles of all participants are described, ranging from acute care in hospital to all aspects of long term chronic care in the community.

Since implementation of these services mostly is a weak point and hard to achieve, critical aspects of implementation will be addressed in this symposium.


Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe examples of individualized support for children and youth with ABI.
  2. Reflect on how national conditions can clarify the need for national recommendations of rehabilitation and integrated care and support.
  3. Recognize and identify pitfalls for implementation.