read about a pilot scheme that has been launched in Sheffield with the assistance of The Children's Trust Tadworth to support children with brain injury." />

Specialist pilot scheme set up to help children with brain injury

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The aim of the pilot is to give these children access to specialist support and is based at Sheffield's Children's hospital.   Jenny McIntrye, who is running the scheme, said: "These children often look well, they go home from hospital but things are not right, they can have difficulties with relationships and behaviour and they can have problems when they go back to school."

The scheme will work with the children and their families to identify any needs the child might have after leaving hospital to enable them to return them to school and reengage with their family.  The scheme, which is funded by The Children's Trust and is to be trialled for two years.

I have acted for many children who have suffered brain injury over the years and unfortunately whilst the initial medical treatment may be excellent the aftercare and support when the child is discharged home can vary dramatically.  It's subject to the "postcode" lottery that you often hear about when medical care is being discussed.  There are pockets of excellence around the country but other areas are not well looked after at all and some health professionals are not trained to deal with these particular symptoms.   It is distressing to hear parents talk about how their son or daughter has changed and how they are finding it hard to engage with the child because their injury is throwing up so many problems and disrupting the family dynamics.  Many families are so glad to have the child home, they do not realise that that is when the real hard work is going to start and when the support and assistance is really needed. 

I have acted in cases where the child is a danger not only to themselves but also to other children in the family.  They can act out and be aggressive which can have very serious consequences.  The child is not able to rationalise and understand the consequences of their actions which means that parents need to be hyper vigilant and aware of what is going on all the time.  Help can often be provided if the child was injured in an accident.  Defendant Insurers may be willing to fund private rehabilitation and give support, training and respite to families.  However, insurers are not always willing to do that if liability is denied and others do not have access to the private sector.

Having seen first hand what effect a brain injury can have on a child as well as their family, I hope this pilot is a great success.  It's such a shame that this type of scheme isn't available to all. 

Claire Howard

Partner in the Personal Injury team

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