Princess Alexandra Hospital Acquired Brain Injury Transitional Rehabilitation Service (ABI-TRS) has received the runner-up award at this month’s Premier’s Awards for Excellence for their outstanding delivery of transitional hospital-to-home rehabilitation for over 200 individuals with a significant acquired brain injury.
The program has demonstrated improvements in client’s functional ability, community participation and living skills, increased perceived health status, and reduced support needs, all delivered in the community environment.
Program Manager, Areti Kennedy said the key to the program was about early intervention on discharge so that individuals could maximise their new independence and re-engage with the community in a way that also supported return to work and study.
“Individuals with a brain injury face changes to their physical, cognitive and communication skills which impacts on their skills, identity and relationships with friends and family. They have difficulty returning to previous activities at home and in the community with only 32-46 per cent returning to work within two years of their injury,” Areti said.
“This is where our team is making a world of difference to their everyday lives to improve daily independence in the home and community, improve access to therapy, maintain psychological well-being for people with injury and their families, and reduce caregiver stress.”
Since 2017, the ABI-TRS, which is the first service of its kind in Queensland, has provided goal-directed rehabilitation in the community setting to empower those with an acquired brain injury to manage their own disability and ongoing health long-term.
The innovative service meets people in homes and community settings such as local gyms, pools, and libraries, as well as their workplaces. The service provides transitional accommodation in Brisbane for those people who usually reside in regional or rural settings, ensuring access to intensive, specialist, inter-disciplinary community rehabilitation following hospital discharge.
“Our research into this service has shown that the clients have increased perceived health status, improved functional ability, community participation and living skills, reduced support needs and stability in depression and stress,” Areti said.
“Their improved occupational activity also highlights superior health and psychosocial outcomes compared to a historical cohort which is a measurable success for the program in streamlining rehabilitation.”
It is anticipated that these improvements in health outcomes and psychological function will result in individuals with ABI maintaining improved health outcomes, having reduced future health-system access needs and the capacity to contribute actively to the Queensland economy.
The pilot ABI-TRS service is demonstrating that Queenslanders with ABI and their family members who receive specialist in-home and community ABI transitional rehabilitation have better outcomes than those who received previous ‘regular care’ rehabilitation.
“Other service providers tell us that clients discharged from ABI-TRS require less intensive management, less crisis management, and have better integration into the community when compared to clients from other referral sources. Even more than any award, this sort of feedback is what keeps us investing into the lives of people who have an acquired brain injury,” she said.
“We are delighted to be acknowledged for our work with this cohort to ‘Keep Queenslanders healthy’ as part of this year’s Premier’s Awards for Excellence which is affirmation for the passion and investment of our team,” Areti said.