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What do we know about local provision?

Currently, the local NHS patient pathway for paediatric brain injury is as follows:

  • Traumatic brain injury patients are admitted to either James Cook University Hospital or The Great North Children’s Hospital (formerly known as the RVI Newcastle)
  • Atraumatic acquired brain injury – the majority go to the Great North Children’s Hospital but also to James Cook University Hospital as well as district hospitals
  • After initial stabilisation and acute care, children receive intense in-patient neuro-rehabilitation
  • Multidisciplinary – physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, neurophsychologist, play therapist, ward teacher, paediatrician/neurologist
  • There is goal setting and assessment
  • Rehabilitation only tends to focus on mobility, improving speech/communication, swallowing, activities of daily living and self care
  • Discharge to home with ongoing rehabilitation in the community eg physiotherapist, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, neuropsychologist
  • Educational psychologist and special educational needs coordinator

Problems with current community provision across a range of sectors and professions:

  • No common goal setting
  • Uncoordinated
  • Infrequent – it is not enough
  • An unfamiliarity with the challenges of acquired brain injury

What do children and young people need for better outcomes?

  • Well coordinated, integrated community neuro-rehabilitation – managed by a Case Manager taking on the child’s individual specific needs
  • Increased access to community based therapy which is intensive, individualised and supplements and compliments existing services
  • Individualised education support which starts at home and then integrates into school
  • Ongoing education, advocacy and practical support for families aimed at reducing parental burden and improving individual health and wellbeing

We know that this cannot be achieved from a distance!

Being integral to local public, private and third sector networks is essential to maximise the benefits of local resources to get the best possible outcomes for children, young people and their families; especially in times of austerity.

This is why MATRIX Neurological has been formed.  We use ‘the lived experience’ to drive change, build partnerships, pool resources and save money; thus do more-for-less.


"Taking brain injured children home causes high stress for families. Disjointed services exacerbate family stress levels."
Deborah Andrews; New Zealand
"Children and young people have poor social competence post brain injury due to reduced cognition, executive functions, and emotional control. As a result they are twice as likely to have mental health issues in the future"
James Tonks; University of London
"Participation in teen sports and normal activities leads to improved quality of life for children and young people post brain injury and helps to maximise outcomes"
Claire Willis; Australia
"Pediatric neuro-rehabilitation cannot be delivered in isolation. The needs of the child have to be looked at both holistically and within the context of the family unit. Parents need to be empowered to be parents in post-acute pediatric neuro-rehabilitation following brain injury"
The Children's Trust; United Kingdom
"We need to harness the power of brain plasticity for treating children and young people with brain injury. Stressful experiences alter brain development of a child, especially at the key ages of 0-3 and at ages 10-16"
Professor Bryan Kolb; Canada
"Thousands of children and young people living in the UK today without the help and support that can make a huge difference to their lives"
Dalton Leong; Chief Executive of the Children's Trust
"When different organisations assess different aspects of a child's neuro-rehabilitation needs, everyone looks at things from a different perspective and highlight needs and conflicting priorities"
Cathy Jonson; Rehab without Walls; United Kingdom.
"We would like to see earlier identification and support for children with brain injuries to help them succeed in school."
Dalton Leong; Chief Executive of the Children's Trust
"Often families don't have the financial capability to access services. We need to rethink how we delivery neuro-rehab services to children and young people"
Vicki Anderson; Australia
"We are medical practitioners. The real experts are the parents. Over the last 35 years they have taught me everything I know"
Lucia Braga; Brazil

OUR MISSION: To work to remove (health) inequalities for children & young people affected by acquired brain injury; and provide effective support to their families that makes a real difference.

Council for Disabled Children Lottery Funded