Better Care

Celebrating ‘return to work’ support after brain injury

People who have received rehabilitation support and therapy at the Moor Green outpatient neuro-rehabilitation service shared their experiences at an event to mark National Employability Day 2019. 

The focus of the day was celebrating successful returns to work following brain injury.

Following the event, a support group is being launched for current and ex-Brain Injury Specialist Clinic and Moor Green clients.  This is to enable people who have returned to the world of work after an acquired brain injury to be supported by - and to support - others as they aim to regain and maintain the skills and confidence to sustain  employment after a similar experience.

Moor Green Employability Day event

Supporting people with acquired brain injury to lead independent lives is at the heart of the mission of the Moseley Hall Hospital-based facility.

Job retention lead Vicky Betts, said: “For people with a brain injury, returning to some form of work is not only about financial security, although that can be very important. It’s also about independence, structure and self-esteem. For many, it’s one of their main goals, so we make it the focus of their rehabilitation.

Clinical lead Louise Lorenc  added “Our approach is based on working with the person to establish the new meaning of their life moving on from brain injury. Moving forward comes with an element of loss or change. So how can we accept that and incorporate it positively into the life still to be lived.”

Nat Borman at Moor Green Employability Day 2019 event.

Nat Borman (48)
Local authority commissioner

“After surgery for a brain tumour , I was referred to a community rehabilitation team who helped me reach a lot of my goals – walking again, going down stairs, talking better than I was. Then they referred me to Moor Green.

"At first, I thought ‘why on earth are they sending me there?’ I was very upset because I was going through a stage of loss; I’d lost the ‘old Nat’ – my voice, my hearing, my sight on one side. I was very low and so my expectations of Moor Green were very low too and I didn’t want to come.

"Moor Green gave me an awful lot because the people here – both therapists and other patients – understand brain injury and I wasn’t ‘a freak’ – I was with people who were like me.

"I’ve no doubt I wouldn’t have retained my job without them. My intention has always been to return  full-time so they’ve helped me work with my employer to build up the hours gradually. I’m eternally grateful to Moor Green for making me appreciate what I’ve got and giving me a new perspective on life.”

James Young (28)

“I’d only been in my job for three months when I had a stroke. I was an inpatient at QE and Moseley Hall and then the Birmingham Neuro-Rehab Team for several months before I was referred to Moor Green.

“I did see the benefits but I was also thinking ‘why am I doing this? I need to get back to work'.

"I was nervous about starting here but the nerves soon went. Everyone is so friendly and I also knew one or two of the staff from my time in Ward 9 (the inpatient neuro-rehabilitation team at Moseley Hall).

"I found it very easy to set goals because I was very driven to return to work and to playing football. Now I’m back at work full-time.

"The most helpful thing about Moor Green is the community feel. The peer support groups and other opportunities to meet people with similar conditions were great for wellbeing. It makes Moor Green a really special place.”

James Young at Moor Green Employability Day 2019 event.

Elizabeth Thomas at Moor Green Employability Day 2019 event.

Elizabeth Thomas (65)
Local authority worker

“I had a brain tumour the size of a tennis ball that left me paralysed. When I was first referred to Moor Green, I thought it was a waste of time – all they did was talk.

"I wanted more action! I couldn’t walk properly; I was in a wheelchair. How would I improve if it’s just talk!

“But as it went along, they helped me with speech and memory; I did painting and gardening and Tai Chi sessions, which helped with balance. And steadily I got my confidence back; I was no longer sitting quietly in a corner. I was contributing to things.

“By the time I was finished, I could do a lot of things for myself. For a long time, I had a voice in my head telling me ‘you can’t do this”.

"I was helped to understand that was part of the mental fatigue that comes with brain injury.

"I didn’t find it easy to set goals at first. But it all fell into place as the Moor Green team helped filter out my needs and with the psychology around where I could go.

“Going back to work was a key goal – I’d been used to chairing meetings, presenting to people. Now, I’ve done all that again, and I was president of a professional institute when I became ill; at the last conference, I was able to say grace at the new president’s dinner. So I have been able to achieve a lot. I would have been lost without that support.”