Brain Injury Awareness Week starts on 21 August 2023 and is an annual event to raise awareness of brain injury and its impact in Australia. Statistics show that 1 in 45 Australians are living with a brain injury. This year's theme recognises that brain injuries are not always seen and can cause complex and significant disabilities that affect how people reintegrate into everyday life.
Traumatic brain injury is a major cause of disability and death in Australia. The most common causes of brain injuries include trauma (from road crashes, falls, sporting accidents, workplace accidents, and assaults), medical events (including strokes, haemorrhages, aneurysms, and infection) and lack of oxygen to the brain (during birth, cardiac arrests, strokes, near drownings).
These injuries often lead to complex, long-term disabilities which affect people's personalities, relationships, independence and quality of life.
Due to restricted funding, staffing and a lack of suitable facilities within Australia, many people suffering from traumatic brain injuries are not receiving appropriate levels of support or appropriate accommodation to support their recovery and enhance their quality of life.
Michael, 71, is one of the many individuals who has sustained a brain injury following a medical event. Michael is currently receiving care within an aged care facility, despite his wish to live in his home with appropriate care and assistance.
Formerly, Michael was a New York-based artist who had a full life, with friends and family always nearby. Michael relocated to Brisbane's north and was living near his son, Jesse, whom he enjoyed sharing his passions of drawing, painting, cooking, fishing, camping and gardening with. Michael is an avid lover of animals and enjoys spending time with his pet dog.
In 2016, Michael was admitted to the Redcliffe Hospital after suffering from nausea and severe abdominal pain. Michael sustained a significant brain injury following general surgery (a laparotomy). Michael experienced several complications following multiple surgical procedures, including bowel perforations and sepsis. He suffered from strokes and cardiac arrest and was subsequently diagnosed with a catastrophic brain injury.
After an extended period of hospitalisation, Michael was discharged from the hospital into an aged care facility. Michael and his family are advocating to improve his quality of life and for him to return to suitable accommodation in the community, to allow him better access to therapy, treatment and care and to allow his son and pet dog to stay with him.
Sadly, Michael's story is not unique. There are many people suffering from traumatic brain injuries who do not have access to suitable support and accommodation.
If you (or a loved one) suffer from a brain injury, you may be eligible to claim under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The NDIS provides funding for the supports and services you may need because of your brain injury.
If you sustained a brain injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident, work injury or as a result of a medical event, you may be entitled to additional support.
Synapse is Australia’s Brain Injury Organisation that provides support for individuals, including advice on housing options, advocacy and support coordination. You can find further information and support for individuals with brain injuries on the Synapse website.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Australian Capital Territory. If you need a lawyer in Canberra or elsewhere in Australian Capital Territory, please call us on 1800 675 346.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.