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A sailing boat captained by people with brain injuries undergoing rehabilitation at Calverts Reconnections in the Lake District

Covid-19 has impacted every aspect of life, but as we slowly emerge from lockdown to a new normal way of life, what will the impact be for those who have sustained a brain injury and are receiving ongoing rehabilitation?

The charity Calvert Reconnections and barristers Exchange Chambers recently polled 161 of the UKs most senior brain injury solicitors for their opinions on how rehabilitation for clients has been affected by lockdown. The results revealed that 89% believe rehabilitation standards have dropped as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 92% saying that brain injury rehabilitation is going to be more reliant than ever on the private and charitable sectors moving forwards.

The survey goes on to reveal that whilst virtual rehabilitation has become commonplace in the last few months, 63% of responders have expressed concerns over its effectiveness and 91% anticipate there will be an increase in the use, and need for, outdoor activities as part of the rehabilitation process for brain injured patients.

Bill Braithwaite QC, Head of Exchange Chambers and Trustee at Calvert Reconnections believes that ‘Covid-19 has driven brain injury rehabilitation to crisis point. While virtual rehabilitation has plugged the gap, it is not a long-term solution. Moving forward and taking into account Covid-19 considerations such as social distancing, everything points towards brain injury rehabilitation being at its most effective when traditional clinical therapies are combined with physical activity in the outdoors.’

We’ve been following progress of Calvert Reconnections, a neuro-rehabilitation residential centre located on the outskirts of Keswick in the Lake District, providing ground—breaking rehabilitation programmes for those who have suffered an acquired brain injury. The Centre officially opened its doors on 13 March, just days before the country was put into lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Time in lockdown has been spent ensuring the Centre’s residential and community facilities are fully compliant with Covid-19 guidelines and newly developed services will include post lockdown respite and post Covid-19 step down rehabilitation. With a focus on outdoor activities such as rambling, fell walking, fishing, gardening, horse riding, orienteering, cycling, canoeing and sailing, the Centre is uniquely placed to incorporate social distancing into its programme.

The Centre is now taking referrals for September when the Centre will fully open. The team at Calvert Reconnections includes activity instructors, neuro rehabilitation coaches, an occupational therapist, neuro-physiotherapist and a consultant neuropsychologist, developing programmes for individuals which will include personal goals to provide physical and psychological well-being.

Further information can be found in our previous article about Calvert Reconnections and the services it offers as well as within our A-Z Directory of Services in the residential rehabilitation sectionCalvert Reconnections

Full survey results

161 people responded to Exchange Chambers survey in May 2020. Findings reveal:

  • 89% of brain injury solicitors believe rehabilitation standards have dropped as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • 92% said that brain injury rehabilitation is going to be more reliant than ever on the private and charitable sectors moving forward.
  • 70% believe that charities are being forced to cut back on support measures for brain injured patients as a result of financially related Covid-19 pressures.
  • 63% express concern over the effectiveness of virtual rehabilitation long-term.
  • 91% of solicitors anticipate an increase in the use of outdoor activities in rehabilitation plans.
  • 26% of brain injury solicitors said that the other side have used Covid-10 as a tactic to stall the litigation process.