Research reveals lack of support for brain injury sufferers going back to work
New research has revealed that UK employers are ill-informed and under-equipped to support employees with brain injuries.
After client feedback, Hudgell Solicitors have noted the distinct lack of support for those returning to work after a brain injury. To create awareness for this issue, the firm have created images which visualise some of the comments they received in the survey.
Some examples of the responses receives are: ‘They don’t understand my injury or the nuances that come with it’ and ‘I didn’t tell HR the full story because I don’t think they would have understood’.
Hudgell Solicitors, along with brain injury charity Headway, found that there were 162,544 hospital admissions for head injuries in 2013/2014.
Speaking about the issue, Kent Pattinson, a solicitor at Hull firm Hudgell said: ‘There are strategies which employers ought to put in place to assist employees on their return to work following a brain injury. However, it is rare for employers to conduct occupational health and vocational assessments when clients return to work.’
Strategic diversity and inclusion expert Charlotte Sweeney has suggested working closely with employees to gain a full understanding of the nature of the injury. She said: ‘Every case, every symptom and the impact on day-to-day life is different for everyone – the person experiencing the brain injury is the expert in their own situation and should be consulted at all times to find out what will work for them and what support or adaptations they will need now and in the future.’
Labour MP for Hull and shadow solicitor general, Karl Turner, agreed to the suggestion and said focus should be on ‘phased schemes that allow employees to return to work at a gradual pace which suits their recovery.’
He added: ‘This may include home visits from managers in which expectations should be discussed and what changes to the job role are necessary to allow a smooth transition.’
He also added that workshops for all staff members would be beneficial to discuss the mental and physical health issues involved after a brain injury, which would reduce any feelings of isolation when an individual returns to work.
Kent Pattinson concluded: ‘Often the only adjustment is in reduced working hours for an initial period which means that no account is taken of the difficulties brain injured clients often face with deficits of concentration, attention, organisation and planning. Without appropriate assistance, clients can quickly become overwhelmed and find themselves unable to cope.’
See some of the campaign images below…