Heads Together is a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence funded research collaboration across universities in the UK, exploring brain injury social work education.
The project is a collaboration led by Professor Andrew Bateman (University of Essex), and includes Dr Mark Holloway Consultant/Expert Witness, HeadFirst; Dr Alyson Norman, (Plymouth University); Dr Mike Clark, (London School of Economics) and Dr Mark Linden, (Queens University, Belfast), Caroline Bald (University of Essex) and Akudo Amadiegwu (University of Essex).
Head Injury affects thousands of people in the UK. Each year 1.4 million people attend emergency departments in England and Wales with a recent head injury.
Heads Together aims to identify the knowledge and understanding social workers have of brain injury; ascertain the training currently available and develop a central resource point for social work practice around brain injury.
- Systematic review
- Social Workers and Practice Educators
- Specialist Brain Injury Social Workers
- Experts by Experience
The research team has now published a systematic scoping review of the knowledge base produced by social workers on acquired brain injury.
The dataset for “Social workers and acquired brain injury: A systematic review of the current evidence-base” has now been published in PLOS ONE.
It contains details of 17 papers included in a manuscript titled “Social workers and acquired brain injury: A systematic review of the current evidence-base”
Dr Mark Linden of Queen’s University, Belfast who led this part of the project said, ‘Our paper brought together diverse literature on how the social work profession has examined its interactions with survivors of brain injury. We summarised our findings as relating to the need for advocacy in social work, the need for training and multidisciplinary team working, the importance of including wider social networks and the acknowledgement of societal barriers in accessing services. The paper calls for all social workers to possess some level of training in ABI.’
The review systematically explored the evidence base to examine how social workers have been prepared to work with their clients with brain injury. Employing six electronic databases (Social Policy & Practice, Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL Plus) 1071 papers were reviewed. After applying eligibility criteria 17 papers were included in this review. Standardised data extraction and quality appraisal tools were utilised to assess all included papers. Following appraisal, 9 papers were judged as possessing high methodological quality whilst 8 were judged as medium.
Employing narrative synthesis, four themes were identified which captured the key findings of these papers. Themes were named as (i) advocacy and social work (ii) training and multidisciplinary team working (iii) inclusion of social networks and (iv) societal barriers.
The paper concluded that in order to meet their statutory responsibilities to practice safely, social workers must receive training in how to identify ABI and develop understanding of its consequences and subsequent need for provision. Social workers are also in a unique position to advocate for their clients and should make every effort to ensure their needs are met.
The full paper can be found here: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0292128
A key aspect of this project is the perspectives of people affected by brain injury
This includes people with brain injury, their family members and carers, and the professionals who support them.
This group will inform the research which aims to improve social worker knowledge of brain injury and outcomes for people affected by this condition. Dr Alyson Norman and Caroline Bald run the Experts by Experience group – the group has met online and also in person to allow the voices of those with brain injuries, their families, but also social workers with personal experiences of brain injuries to be included in the research.
Developing a central resource point
Heads Together: Social work educator views of the training and educational needs of student social workers in preparation for working with individuals and families affected by ABI
Social work educator views of the training and educational needs of student social workers in preparation for working with individuals and families affected by ABI
Caroline Bald & Akudo Amadiegwu
Presented at the The Joint Social Work Education and Research Conference, University of Strathclyde, June 2023
Specialist acquired brain injury (ABI): UK social workers’ experience of their professional education, and views upon training and education needs of SW’s who work with individuals affected by ABI.
UK social workers’ experience of their professional education, and views upon training and education needs of SW’s who work with individuals affected by ABI.
Dr Mark Holloway and Professor Alyson Norman
Presented at the International Brain Injury Association Conference, Dublin, March 2023
History repeating? Failing to learn the lessons from Safeguarding Adults Reviews on Acquired Brain Injury: what can we learn, what have failed to learn?
Failing to learn the lessons from Safeguarding Adults Reviews on Acquired Brain Injury: what can we learn, what have failed to learn?
Professor Alyson Norman, Dr Mark Holloway and A Parsons
Presented at the International Brain Injury Association Conference, Dublin, March 2023
Professional experiences of Social Work education and specialist brain injury practice
Professor Alyson Norman, Dr Mark Holloway, Caroline Bald and Akudo Amadiegwu
To be presented at The United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum Annual Summit, Manchester, November 2023
Routledge Books: After Brain Injury, Survivor Stories
After Brain Injury: Survivor Stories was launched to meet the need for a series of books aimed at those who have suffered a brain injury, their families and carers, and professionals who are involved in neuropsychological rehabilitation.
This series offers a much-needed personal insight into the experience, as each book is written, in the main, by a survivor or group of survivors, who are living with the very real consequences of brain injury. Each book focuses on a different condition, such as the impact upon family members, face blindness, amnesia and neglect, or diagnoses, such as encephalitis and locked-in syndrome, resulting from brain injury. Readers will learn about life before the brain injury, early days of diagnosis, the effects of the brain injury, the process of rehabilitation, and life as it is now lived.
The Secondary Impact of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the Experiences of Family Members
Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), with symptoms beyond 3 months, may be more common than previously believed, but is poorly understood. This has resulted in contradictory and confused information for service users, which has had an impact on those with mTBI and their families. This qualitative study aimed to improve understanding of the lived experiences of families of people with mTBI, with symptoms beyond 3 months.
This study aims to gain a better understanding of outcomes in brain injury case management and what facilitates good outcomes when working with clients from the perspective of brain injury case managers.
Accepting what we do not know: A need to improve professional understanding of brain Injury in the UK
Acquired brain injury (ABI) can lead to life-long changes and disability. The complex and extensive nature of behavioural, cognitive, executive, physical and psychological difficulties mean ABI survivors and their families may come into contact with a range of health and social care services as part of their long-term care. This study aimed to understand the ABI knowledge base of professionals across a range of organisations within the UK, and to identify areas for improvement.
Following up from the recent training day; Mental capacity, decision making and executive impairment – we have collated a list of resources that you may find useful in relation to the topic.
This free to join organisation is a Social Work community of more than 200 members from 11 countries who have a special interest in Acquired Brian Injury (ABI). The group shares information such as resources, research, queries, conferences. 2 progress reports are published per year. Members can ask questions to the group to help share knowledge, resources and good practice (all for FREE!)
The Brain Injury Social Work Group (BISWG) was established in the early 1980s by a group of social workers who felt that peer group support as well as specialist educational and networking opportunities were needed. The number of people with acquired brain injury who had very complex needs was increasing as was expectations of the quality and range of services available to them. Families also needed support.
The organisation produces affordable and high-quality conferences and workshops featuring the latest information and practice guidelines delivered by leaders in the field from the UK and overseas and has developed guidelines for social workers.
Membership is £21 per year for qualified social workers.
UKABIF is an umbrella organisation that lobbies for better awareness brain injury and improved services for survivors and family members. UKABIF plays a very active role in lobbying parliament and provides the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group for Acquired Brain Injury.
UKABIF’s website contains links to resources and groups as well as news updates and links to events.
BABICM aims to share knowledge and promote excellence in brain injury and complex case management for adults, children and young people. BABICM provide standards of brain injury professional practice and competencies for brain injury case managers. The organisation offers bespoke training programmes for case managers and others working in the field. BABICM promote evidence-based practice and collaborative working to influence policy relating to brain injury, complex care and case management.
Headway is the UK-wide charity that works to improve life after brain injury by providing support and information services. This includes:
- A freephone helpline
- A website containing information and factsheets on all aspects of brain injury
- A range of booklets and publications to help people understand and cope with the effects of brain injury
- An emergency fund
- A brain injury identity card system
- A directory of approved services
The charity also lobbies for better support and resources to be made available to people affected by brain injury and works to raise awareness of brain injury.
Anchor Point is a special interest group where people with different experiences and knowledge of families affected by brain injury can connect, contribute, inform and improve service provision by working together to build family centred expertise, information, research and resources.
The Child Brain Injury Trust is the leading voluntary sector organisation providing emotional and practical support, information and learning opportunities for families and professionals affected by childhood acquired brain injury across the UK.
The organisation works across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and has a dedicated team of professional staff and volunteers who give their expertise, commitment and energy every day.
The organisation’s website contains links to services and information relating to all aspects of childhood brain injury from legal support, information for siblings and help with education.