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  News - Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge Cambridgeshire UK
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Cambridge Orthoptic Services
Charity funds bring together unique team for head injuries
Date : - 06/07/2009
Cambridgeshire is to get a ground-breaking team of head injury specialists as a result of a £1.25 million grant from the Evelyn Trust and a personal donation from Mrs Catherine Thomas.

The money will fund a doctor, nurses and therapists, combining skills and resources from the community, the Oliver Zangwill Centre for Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, the head injury charity Headway Cambridgeshire, and Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

The effects of a brain injury vary from person to person, but they can include physical problems like reduced mobility and poor memory as well as emotional difficulties like frustration and reduced motivation. The new team ensures that people needing rehabilitation after a severe head injury are cared for more quickly and in a more integrated way.

The team will assess patients when they are discharged from hospital, building a treatment strategy that suits the individual and which can be delivered in the community. In the past, mental health or cognitive problems have sometimes been under-diagnosed – but the team will monitor patients’ need for more intensive treatment, with particular emphasis on these areas.

Alongside this work, the team will undertake research to support their work and to provide the basis for similar teams to be set up across the country.

Professor John Pickard, Clinical Director of Neurosciences at Addenbrooke’s, said: “We are delighted that the Evelyn Trust is supporting this project. It is a chance to bridge the traditional boundaries of healthcare, treating patients both in hospital and in the community. There have been significant advances in the initial treatment of patients with acute brain injury, but ongoing management in terms of rehabilitation has been less good. Now we have an opportunity to provide a comprehensive neuro-rehabilitation service for Cambridgeshire.”

The Oliver Zangwill Centre for Neuropsychological Rehabilitation is part of Cambridgeshire Community Services. Based in Ely, it provides high quality rehabilitation for the individual cognitive, social, emotional and physical needs of people with acquired brain injury. The centre offers a unique holistic and intensive assessment and therapy programme.

Andrew Bateman, Clinical Manager at the Oliver Zangwill Centre, said: “The process of bidding has brought the teams together in a new way. We have learned from each other already through sharing of priorities for people with brain injury. The innovations in therapy that will be possible as a result of this grant will build on our research work of recent years. There is no doubt that individuals with brain injury and their families will benefit from this project. This is an exciting opportunity for all the teams involved.”

Andrew Gardner, Chief Executive of Headway Cambridgeshire, said: “This represents a major change to the way in which community rehabilitation will be planned in Cambridgeshire. Individuals will be able to access additional professional resources to support their overall rehabilitation, and having access to specialist staff will enable Headway to help more people overcome some of the issues that stop them living more independently following a brain injury.”

The Evelyn Trust is a local charity which supports medical research and healthcare around Cambridge with funds raised from the sale of the Evelyn Hospital. Bob Bradfield, Chairman of the Trustees, said: “We are delighted to be making this grant to such an important area. By bringing together different experts in this field we hope to make a lasting and sustainable improvement to the overall care patients receive.”

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