4 Dec 2020

Citizen's jury on care for acquired brain injury rehabilitation

Rehabilitation for brain injury patients can be lifelong. A Citizen
Jury was asked for their recommendations on best care. Study

Brain injury rehabilitation is long‐term - in fact, it can be lifelong - and not cheap. So far, little published information or debate has informed policy for service delivery in Australia. 

As health budgets are finite, there are major challenges to providing the best care to people with brain injuries. 

Members of the public were invited to take part in a Citizen Jury at the Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Centre in Melbourne. The ABI Centre features single-bed rooms at Caulfield Hospital and provides rehabilitation to meet the needs of people with severe brain injuries, resulting from trauma, stroke and other medical causes of acquired brain injury.  The Citizen Jurists were asked, ‘What considerations are important to include in a model of care of brain injury rehabilitation?’

First author on the study, Professor Natasha Lannin, worked with colleagues from several institutions to establish a Citizen Jury in order to obtain public evidence and recommendations for future policy in the field. Citizen juries are a recent innovation to obtain in-depth insights into what end users of a health service want and need to provide them support for recovery, in this case people with brain injuries.

The jury unanimously decided that brain injury rehabilitation needed to be tailored to the individual's needs; and that the health-care system had to be flexible enough to provide help when it would be of most benefit to patients.

Prof Lannin said, "This study really highlights the benefit of co-production of research with public involvement to achieve social impact." She said it involved a large collaborative team of  dedicated clinical researchers across Monash University, La Trobe University, Federation University and Flinders University working in partnership with Brain Injury Australia and clinicians from Alfred Health. 

"Findings suggest that the Australian public see the need for new models of care with flexible services; family involvement; highly skilled staff; and consumer‐focused services that prepare individuals and their carers for the long term of life after brain injury."

Lannin NA, Coulter M, Laver K, Hyett N, Ratcliffe J, Holland AE, Callaway L, English C, Bragge P, Hill S, Unsworth CA. Public perspectives on acquired brain injury rehabilitation and components of care: A Citizens' Jury. Health Expect. 2020 Dec 2. doi: 10.1111/hex.13176. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33264470.

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