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Resources for Social Workers

Educating & providing resources to build back lives

Find helpful resources related to the support provided by BISWG

While life after brain injury includes challenges, there can still be life. Rehabilitation should include methods and resources to overcome the emotional and frustrating experiences patients and families may face.

BISWG is committed to sharing information with patients, family members, professionals and the public about brain injury; to educate and provide resources to build back lives.

If you have research or other information that you would like to share through BISWG, please email or call 07501 483989.

Mental Capacity Act

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) sets out important legal principles concerning individuals who lack mental capacity. The act outlines how help can be given so individuals can make decisions for themselves, as well as setting out rules for those who make decisions on someone else’s behalf.

Review the range of resources we have provided on the Mental Capacity Act.

Mental Capacity Assessment Template

Dr Melanie George has produced a template which serves as a guide for those carrying out Mental Capacity Act (2005) assessments with people who have a brain injury (including stroke) or other neurological condition. The template has been developed in accordance with NICE guidance on decision making and mental capacity (2018).

Template for MCA 20 April 19

Frontal Lobe Paradox

You may also like to read the following articles written by Dr George and Dr Gilbert which help to explain the complex issues surrounding mental capacity for people with acquired brain injuries.

Frontal lobe paradox: where people have brain damage, but don’t know it

Mental Capacity Act 2005 assessments

Dr Andy Mantell is a trustee of BISWG and has written a guide for Community Care on this subject. You can read a shortened version of the guide via this link – which also leads to the full guide available for Community Care Subscribers.

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 International Social Work Group for Acquired Brain Injury (INSWABI)

Advancing the Social Work contribution to the field of Acquired Brain Injury

A Social Work community of more than 160 members from 11 countries who have a special interest in Acquired Brian Injury (ABI), INSWABI share information such as resources, research, queries, conferences.

Practice Guidance for Social Workers working with people with an acquired brain injury

The Brain Injury Social Work Group (BISWG) and the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) have developed a piece of practice guidance to assist social workers who may be working with people with an ABI where this is not a presenting problem.

Please, explore our resources below.

ABI Practice Guidance BISWIG

The guidance aims to increase awareness among social workers of the condition and to provide advice about what an acquired brain injury is and how social work intervention can help. It also links to the appropriate level of knowledge and skills as identified in the Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) and the Knowledge and Skills Statement for adults and child and family social work.

Please click to view the publication. If you would like to order a hard copy please email

British Association of Social Work (BASW)

In March 2019 the British Association of Social Work (BASW) worked with BISWG Trustees, Drs Andy Mantell and Mark Holloway to broadcast a webinar called Understanding People Affected by Brain Injury: Practice Guidance for Social Workers.

We feel that this training and guidance is essential for all social workers given that acquired brain injury is often unidentified yet responsible for long term issues and cognitive difficulties.

The format of the webinar was a 40 minute presentation followed by 40 minutes of questions. The webinar was attended by 131 people and a further 265 have viewed the recorded webinar on YouTube since the event.

The Brain Injury Needs Indicator (BINI)

The BINI was developed at the request of the Department of Health after the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT) (now called Brainkind) and local authorities raised concern that people with brain injury can lack insight into their deficits.

It is a free, simple tool you can use alongside your standard assessment to compare information from the person, their support network and health/care professional.

The BINI is referenced in the statutory guidance for the Care Act 2014. It uses brain injury history, level of recovery and level of insight to establish level of risk. There are currently 400+ registered users, mostly LA and NHS.

The BINI has three sections:

  • Section 1: Gathers information about the brain injury history – person’s problems will tend to be based on the nature of the brain injury and the level of recovery
  • Section 2: Asks the person and relatives what problems the person currently has in everyday life (pre-injury/currently)
  • Section 3: Compares perceptions from person and support network and uses results from sections 1 and 2 to estimate the level of risk: High, Medium or Low

To obtain further information or a copy of the BINI please contact or visit the website

Brain Injury and Homelessness: Good practice guidance for frontline services

A new report has been produced for frontline staff with information to support people experiencing homelessness who are known or are suspected to have experienced brain injury.

There is information about what brain injury is, how it is caused and why people who experience homelessness may be at risk. Most importantly there is information on how to support people with, or suspected to have, brain injury and how to access specialist services.

If you are in a rush and need to know what to do right now, there is also a quick checklist.

Download a copy of the guide now.

Guidance to support assessment of homeless people

This guide has been developed to support practitioners from across statutory, charity and third sector organisations to bring together information in a manner that facilitates lawful decision making and leads to effective interventions that uphold the core principles of safeguarding, including the aspiration to empower an adult at risk to protect themselves.

The focus of this guide is to improve multi-agency support for individuals who have an appearance of need for care and support and are experiencing multiple exclusion homelessness (MEH).

Download PDF

Understanding Acquired Brain Injury: Additional resources for seminar and webinar delegates

Below are links to articles and documents that Headway groups may find helpful when seeking funding for services or individuals.

A lot of this will be known to you already but I thought it worthwhile pulling it all together in one place. Some are academic articles some are more accessible reports etc.

There is also links to guidance documents and to legal factsheets. We hope that you find this useful and ask that you do not hesitate to share this document if you think somebody could benefit from the information within.

View the resources below.

About brain injury

An acquired brain injury (ABI) is an injury caused to the brain since birth. There are many possible causes, including a fall, a road accident, tumour and stroke.

Read more

The effects of brain injury

Understanding a brain injury is an important first step in getting help and finding treatment. Here you will find our top resources about traumatic brain injury, the types of brain injury, brain anatomy, and TBI statistics.

Read more

What Is a TBI?

An introduction to some of the main difficulties that can affect individuals and their families after brain injury, together with some suggestions as to how to deal with them. Although the booklet is intended mainly for families, friends and carers, brain injury survivors themselves may also find the information useful.

Read more

The effects of brain injury and how to help

This factsheet provides an overview of the main difficulties that can affect individuals and their families after brain injury. All brain injuries are different and people may be affected to a varying degree by any number of these problems, depending on the severity of their injury and the area of the brain which is affected.

Read more

An Introduction to Brain Injury

Introductory video from The Disabilities Trust.

Watch Video

Understanding The Brain, And How TBI Affects It | Neurosurgeon Dr. Gary Kraus | Kraus TBI Podcast

PATIENT FOCUSED. INJURY-CENTERED SOLUTIONS. Taking Traumatic Brain Injuries Head-On: The Premier Center in Houston.

Watch Video

Functional skills

The interrelationship of functional skills in individuals living in the community, following moderate to severe traumatic brain injury.

This is an academic article that identifies that poor levels of insight are associated with individuals being less likely to achieve more complex tasks that require higher levels of planning and responding to feedback.

Find out more here.

Community case management

Factors influencing community case management and care hours for clients with traumatic brain injury living in the UK

This is an academic article that identifies that issues such as reduced insight and poorer executive skills (planning, decision making etc) are associated with higher use of case management services. For those without access to case management this would indicate that family members or headway services are more likely to spend more time trying to “manage” individuals lives/behaviour if they lack insight/have executive problems

Find out more here.

Long term care needs

Long term care needs following Acquired Brain Injury: Final report

This is a report upon views of services for people with a brain injury, highlighting positive and not so positive experiences.

Find out more

Making the Abstract Real

Making the Abstract Real: Acquired Brain Injury and Mental Capacity. A report making recommendations following the House of Lords Select Committee review of the Mental Capacity Act

This report was in response to the House of Lords report on the Mental Capacity Act, identifying significant difficulties for people with a acquired brain injury with assessment of capacity when difficulties were often missed.

Find out more

Acquired Brain Injury and Neurorehabilitation

Time For Change: All-Party Parliamentary Group On Acquired Brain Injury Report

Recent report to parliament regarding the state of neuro-rehabilitation and the need to look at this, at education, at welfare benefits and sports injuries.

Find out more

Mental Capacity Act (2005) assessments

Mental Capacity Act (2005) assessments: why everyone needs to know about the frontal lobe paradox

This article looks at difficulties that families and people affected by ABI have when mental capacity is affected. It has been recognised that much of ABI is hidden and assessments need to take account of this or else will be inaccurate.

Find out more

Decision Making and Mental Capacity

These NICE guidelines are important as they identify that people with an ABI can be mis-assessed if the assessor just listens to what is said and not what is done by the person with a brain injury. They also note that the assessing person needs knowledge of the condition that they are assessing.

You can therefore insist that brain injury specialists inform the assessment process.

Find out more

Care Act Statutory Guidance

This is an important document if you, your client or your family member is being assessed under the Care Act.

Paragraph 6.3 of the Care Act Statutory Guidance specifically identifies that those undertaking Care Act assessments must have the “right skills and knowledge” to perform this role and paragraph 6.4 notes that assessment may require the input of a number of professionals (specialists in brain injury for example.)

Paragraph 6.28 of the guidance places a duty on Local Authorities to ensure that those undertaking Care Act assessments “have the skills, knowledge and competence to carry out the assessment in question”

Paragraph 6.43 identifies that assessments can be informed by tools such as the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust’s assessment tool, the BINI

You can therefore insist that brain injury specialists inform the assessment process.

Find out more

National Framework

National Framework for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS-funded Nursing Care guidance.

If you, your client or your relative is being assessed for “continuing care funding” paragraph 126 states:
“It is important that those contributing to this process have the relevant skills and knowledge. It is best practice that where the individual concerned has, for example a learning disability, or a brain injury, someone with specialist knowledge of this client group is involved in the assessment process”

You can therefore insist that brain injury specialists inform the assessment process.

Find out more

Legal help

Despite you, your client or your relative having rights enshrined in law, sometimes these do not seem to be taken account of and the help of a public lawyer is called for. Legal Aid can be available for this and often one well-worded letter from a legal expert can work wonders.

There are a number of very reputable firms who undertake this work. The link below is to one, it is not a recommendation, there are other firms too, however this organisation has provided template letters and factsheets that you may find helpful. This is free-of charge.

Find out more

Useful resources for Organisations

We have collated a list of resources that you may find useful in relation to the topic

International Social Work and Acquired Brain Injury group

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!)

Explore more

Brain Injury Social Work Group

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.

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United Kingdom Acquired Brain Injury Forum

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.

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British Association of Brain Injury and Complex Case Management

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.

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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.

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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.

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Child Brain Injury Trust

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.

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ABI Ireland

Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABI Ireland) is Irelands leading provider of community based neuro-rehabilitation services for people who have acquired a brain injury in Ireland.

Founded in 2000 as the Peter Bradley foundation, ABI Ireland enables people between the ages of 18 and 65 with an acquired brain injury to live an independent life by providing them with a supportive living environment.

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The 5 most inspiring TED talks about brain injury

The topic of brain injury can be intense and sobering. Necessarily so. However, sometimes it can help to be inspired by the latest ideas about brain injury rehabilitation that are supported by concrete evidence, delivered by knowledgeable and engaging speakers. Enter TED Talks. TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less) about everything from science and medicine to business and art. The live talks are recorded and stored on the internet as videos you can watch for free anytime.

To that end, we’ve curated five TED Talks that we think you will find inspiring – whether you are a clinician, a caregiver or a survivor of brain injury. So, take a few minutes and scroll down for five talks that are both illuminating and thought-provoking.

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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

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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

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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

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Professional experiences of Social Work education and specialist brain injury practice

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

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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.

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Whose Outcome is it Anyway? Outcome and Brain Injury Case Management

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.

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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.

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This Self Study module provides an overview of the nature of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the impact it can have on a person’s life as well as on the lives of their family. This includes looking at their whole situation, including their community and available services. By exploring this information, the module assists workers to enable individuals with a TBI to achieve and maintain their maximum potential within their family and community.

View Course

Working with people with acquired brain injury

Self-study MODULE 1 An Introduction to ABI
focuses on introducing what an ABI is and it’s consequences.

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Video resources for healthcare professionals

Video resources for healthcare professionals from Acquired Brain Injury Ireland

View Resource

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The Brain Injury Social Work Group


Brain Injury Social Work Group Ltd  |  Registered Charity Number 1135891 Registered in England and Wales as a company Number 7095017 Registered office: DB Accountants, The Gables, Yonder Meadow, Stoke Gabriel, Totnes, TQ9 6QE.