New service to help traumatic brain injuries

10 September 2018

Children and adolescents with traumatic brain injuries have access to a newly established, multi-disciplinary service at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital to help them recover sooner.

Dr James Rice, Head of Paediatric Rehabilitation at the Women’s and Children’s Health Network, said the Child and Adolescent Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service ( CABIRS) is simplifying access to support and rehabilitation services for children and adolescents who have experienced a mild or moderate traumatic brain injury.

“It’s common after a brain injury for young people to experience some nervousness and difficulty returning to their everyday lives,” Dr Rice said.

“Our new multidisciplinary team provides outpatient support and advice for reintegration back to school, sport and community participation for young people up to 18 years of age.

“With reassurance, consistent information, and a collaborative approach, the CABIRS team can help to make the return to activity easier for patients, and improve their quality of life.”

On average, the Women’s and Children’s Hospital sees 300 children present with head injuries every year.

Ms Lauren Bayliss, Senior Occupational Therapist and CABIRS Team Leader, said it’s important for families, communities and health professionals to understand how traumatic brain injuries can affect children and adolescents.

“Two out of every three of the 700,000 Australians living with a brain injury acquired it before the age of 25,” Ms Bayliss said.

“A mild traumatic brain injury can result from a knock or jolt to the head or body that affects brain cells.

“It could be from a major trauma such as a car accident or fall, or it could be from a sporting injury or an accidental knock to the head.

“Parents and caregivers should keep an eye out for any headaches, dizziness, fatigue or drowsiness, and seek medical attention in the first instance.

“Some children may also have trouble with their concentration or memory, struggle with ongoing fatigue, or become upset or anxious more easily than normal in the days or weeks following the injury.

“A brain injury doesn’t necessarily need to involve a loss of consciousness or changes on a brain scan to affect the way the brain functions, and different people can be affected in different ways.”

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