What is Acquired Brain Injury

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    Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Service

    What is Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)?  

    The World Health Organization's definition of acquired brain injury:

    “Damage to the brain, which occurs after birth and is not related to a congenital or a degenerative disease. These impairments may be temporary or permanent and cause partial or functional disability or psychosocial maladjustment”

    (Geneva 1996)

    Illustration of a human head full of bright coloured shapes

    An ABI may be caused by external blows, jolts or penetrating wounds (also known as TBI); stroke; heart attack; infections producing high temperatures; brain tumours; loss of consciousness; loss of oxygen to the brain from choking, near drowning or other anoxic conditions.

    Brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability in persons under 45 years old, occurring more frequently than breast cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury combined.

    At the present time 1.3 million people in the UK are living with the long term consequences of brain injury with an annual cost to the UK economy of £15 billion – 0.8% GDP.

    Brain Injury is more common in certain demographic groups – children, young men (aged 15-24) and over 65's. In the past decade there has been a two-fold increase in brain injury in women and in the over 65 representing a significant change in demographics. Brain injury is more common in those with a pre-existing mental illness – almost 3 times more common in people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia. It is also more common in prison populations – various studies have quoted an incidence of 25-87% - most recent studies suggested a 60% incidence of brain injury in prison populations.

    Brain injury is associated with:

    • More violent crimes
    • Increased recidivism
    • Earlier age of first criminal activity
    • Longer prison sentences
    • Increased use of segregation

    Typical Presenting Needs

    Executive functioning deficits


    Memory and Attention


    Perceptual disturbance


    Emotional dysregulation

    Cognitive fatigue

    Occupational/Vocational/ social skills

    Physical health needs following brain injury including epilepsy

    Mental state (co morbidity)

    Risk behaviours (violence, vulnerability, harm to others/selves, impulse control, offending)

    One of the key challenges of working in a secure ABI service is the high level of comorbidity of patient needs such as severe mental illness, developmental disorders, personality disorder and substance misuse.

    There are often risks around violent and sexual offending (pre/post ABI) and criminal justice involvement is very common. 

    Such challenges in regard to risk behaviour and the specialist skills needed for ABI care, make this service unique and challenging – our innovative practice has been at the forefront of our successes.

    The combination of primary and comorbid problems, and associated risks, often means that referred patients have experienced exclusion from other services, inappropriate placement or placement breakdown – the ABI service at Guild Lodge seeks to find lasting resolutions in the provision of care for our service users.

    How to contact us

    All Clinical areas can be contacted using the ward name followed by the address details below.

    Guild Lodge
    Whittingham Lane
    Nr Preston
    PR3 2JH

    Bleasdale Ward
    Tel: 01772 773640

    Whinfell Ward
    Tel: 01772 773642

    Langden Ward
    Tel: 01772 645635

    01772 773692
    01772 645635
    01772 773642
    01772 773640

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