Promoting Psychological Well-Being Following Acquired Brain Injury: A Systems Approach to Inpatient Neuro-Rehabilitation



Gemma Costello


Gemma Costello
Louise Owen
Laura Carroll
Birgitta Norton
Elizabeth Roberts
Jonathon Pool
Jenny Jim



Objective of this symposium: To share frameworks, pathways and innovative approaches to promoting psychological wellbeing in an inpatient neuro-rehabilitation psychology service. The session will describe an ecological systems approach to supporting psychosocial functioning and cognitive rehabilitation and the approaches to supporting the transition to home and school. It is proposed that intervention should not be restricted to the child or young person with ABI, rather a key aspect of transition support is skilling up and empowering the education professionals who will most likely become the primary service providers for the CYP in the long-term, connecting young people with their peers and school community to promote wellbeing and support the adjustment to acquired needs whilst maintaining and developing a sense of self.

Presentations would have the following titles:

SPECS: Seeing brain injury clearly. Psychosocial training for professionals working with children and young people with acquired brain injury. This will describe our innovative approach to thinking about social, physical, emotional cognitive and spiritual needs of young people, families and our staff in order to promote psychosocial rehabilitation, reflective practice and self-care in staff teams.

The SHARED model- a systemic approach to transition following childhood ABI. Advocating our "SHARED" theoretical framework to inform the transition of young people following acquired brain injury back to school. Drawing on practice guidelines, research and our own application of the SHARED model, there is growing evidence that applying a systems model to transition for CYP with ABI promotes optimal rehabilitation, wellbeing, adjustment and a sense of school belongingness.

Positive approaches to behaviours that challenge: The development of a positive behaviour support and self-harm pathway in a neuro-rehabilitation setting.

Maintaining the connection and telling a story: This systemic and holistic approach facilitates inclusion and participation by supporting young people in developing their understanding of their ABI. Young people are supported in developing a narrative around their experience, skills and needs with a range of creative approaches being used to facilitate them in sharing their story with peers teachers and family throughout their rehabilitation and on their return to home and school. The relational aspects of these stories encourages resilient skills and characteristics through others and the approach incorporates transitional visits, use of video, technology and a range of tools that maintain the connection with peers and school.

Retrain My Brain: The development of a cognitive rehabilitation pathway for children and young people with acquired brain injury. The pathway has been piloted to test feasibility, implement adaptations and introduce selected assessment and screening tools. Feedback from CYP, their relatives and staff has informed further development. A component of this pathway involves approaches to develop meta-cognitive awareness, facilitating an understanding of the young person's injury, how the brain works and developing insight into approaches that might support them in their return to home, school and community.



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