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It’s Action for Brain Injury Week 2019 which runs from 20-24 May to raise awareness of the impact brain injuries have on survivors.
This year, brain injury charity Headway, which organises the week-long campaign, is focusing on the fatigue that people with brain injuries experience.
According to the charity, fatigue – or excessive tiredness – is one of the most commonly experienced effects of brain injury. In fact, it is the most commonly cited effect of brain injury reported by the 11,000 callers to its helpline each year.
Unlike 'normal' fatigue, which tends to be time-limited and improved by resting and sleep, the intense feelings of fatigue after brain injury can be present most of the time and can have a significant impact on the quality of daily life.
Sleep problems are also an issue associated with brain injury which can make it even more difficult to recharge essential batteries and combat excessive tiredness.
Some brain injury survivors are fortunate because their fatigue improves over time. However, for many, it is a chronic condition that they will have to manage in the longer term.
Unfortunately, as with many of the hidden effects of brain injury, ‘pathological fatigue’ is often misunderstood. That’s why Headway has launched its ‘Brain Drain’ campaign to give a voice to those affected and help to raise awareness and break the stigma of brain injury-related fatigue.
The campaign is putting brain injury survivors at the heart of Brain Drain. All week, Headway will be featuring the online diaries of people with brain injuries on their website talking about how fatigue affects their daily lives.
We think it’s an excellent idea to ask survivors about their experiences of fatigue as no one understands the debilitating effects of brain injury more than those who must deal with it every day.
We asked Jane Weston, the CEO of Headway Swindon to tell us a bit more about how they help their members who visit the centre on a regular basis to manage their fatigue levels. She said:
“At Headway Swindon, we are very aware that some members often experience feelings of excessive tiredness as a result of their brain injury. That’s why we carefully plan our clients’ activities and cognitive rehabilitation therapies (CRT) to ensure they get the most out of their sessions with us.
“Structure and routine is key with brain injury. Headway Swindon promotes this through short bursts of cognitive tasks with regular breaks to avoid excessive fatigue. We also encourage pacing techniques that enable people to participate in more activities.
“Our advice to brain injury survivors is to take things slowly and be realistic about how much you can achieve in a day. Build stamina gradually and above all, be patient with yourself.
For more information about Headway and Action for Brain Injury Week 2019, visit www.headway.org.uk.