Extra help for brain injury children

A PILOT scheme to help youngsters who have problems after a brain injury is set to be launched at Sheffield Children’s Hospital and could then be rolled out across the country.

Funded by charity The Children’s Trust, the Tadworth Brain Injury Co-ordinator service is now set to be trialled for two years at the hospital off Western Bank.

Brain injury co-ordinator Jenny McIntyre said: “It’s incredibly important that a service like this exists for children.

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“Currently children come to hospital with brain injuries and receive excellent treatment for their physical problems, but when they get back into the community, to home or school, they may have problems with learning or behaviour which weren’t obvious when they were in hospital.

“It can be a very frustrating and confusing time for children and their families.”

Each year hundreds of children are admitted to Sheffield Children’s Hospital with brain injuries.

Ms McIntyre, who has been a speech therapist for 25 years, said children with a mild or moderate brain injury may currently receive little support once they go home.

“Often problems are not identified during the hospital stay because the child looks and talks normally,” she said.

“However, when the child returns home they can have problems with short-term memory and develop physical signs such as headaches and stomach aches as an outward sign of their frustration and fatigue, as well as behavioural difficulties.

“We hope to identify the children who could have these problems early on and work with families and schools to ensure they get the support and structure the children and families need.”

Andrew Ross, chief executive of The Children’s Trust, added: “Too often children and young people with acquired brain injury are discharged from hospital without the specialist support in place they and their families need.”