By Laura Merry, Senior Associate, Head Injury Team
Lyons Davidson’s Head Injury Team recently attended the Neuro-networking Day at The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD) in Bath.
The event, held on 18 July, was organised by Bath Neuro Rehabilitation Services (BNRS) and Pain Management Services departments at the hospital, which is known locally as ‘the Min’. Professionals in the fields of specialist complex disability and long-term conditions were invited, and attendees included case managers, therapists and solicitors who work in this field.
BNRS provides assessment and rehabilitation for people with complex neurological conditions, including brain injuries. This includes a dedicated Young People’s Unit, for those aged between 16-24, a High Dependency Unit for patients with, for example, consciousness disorders or tracheostomy management needs, and an Adult Unit for adults of all ages who have experienced stroke, head injury and so on.
The morning provided informative talks on the services and functions of pain clinics by Dr Peter Brook, Consultant in Pain Management at the Bath Centre for Services. He was followed by BNRS’ Patient Pathway Manager, Mary-Anne Darlow, who explained how an integrated care pathway takes a patient from the acute stage, right through to discharge from hospital. This goal-oriented approach uses the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health in patients’ rehabilitation. Ms Darlow explained how teams work with case managers and social services to provide support to the community, to help reintegration. The unit is currently looking at the feasibility of providing a ‘step down’ service for patients with more complex ongoing needs to ensure they receive appropriate support in the community after they have left hospital.
This was followed by talks on managing chronic pain from child and adult perspectives by Dr Jacqui Clinch (Consultant in Paediatric Rheumatology and Chronic Pain) and Dr Lance McCracken (Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Director) respectively.
Dr Peter Tucker, a clinical psychologist at the RNHRD, explored how his team applies an individual-centred approach in managing behavioural issues, such as agitation, aggression, disinhibition, wandering and confusion, in people who have severe and complex brain injuries. The inter-disciplinary team includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, neuropsychologists, counsellors and a music therapist, in addition to specialised nursing teams; they are supported by medical staff including a rehabilitation consultant and paediatrician.
After lunch, sponsored by Lyons Davidson, in the lecture hall, the afternoon provided a forum to discuss challenging scenarios and exchange information in smaller workshops. Topics covered included ‘Team Working Plus for Neuro Rehabilitation’ and ‘Managing the Long Term Effects for the Family Following Brain Injury’.
The session closed with a Q&A session and feedback. All present gave the impression that they found the event a very useful resource.