Brain injury treatment pioneered by St Helens charity

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A St Helens-based charity is leading the way in brain injury rehabilitation thanks to a groundbreaking course, the first of its kind in the UK.

Brain Injury Life Line Support (BILLS), set up by former Wigan Athletic chairman Billy Kenyon, began running the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists (ACBIS) course last year in order to give people the opportunity to learn important information about brain injury and earn an internationally-recognised credential.

Two courses have been conducted so far, one in 2016, and one last month.

“There is a vast army of carers in the UK, many of whom support people who have a brain injury,” said Ralph Aguilar, Operational Head of Education and Training at Transitional Rehabilitation Unit (TRU), which has five specialist centres in the St Helens area, and is also part-financed by Mr Kenyon.

“Those carers’ hearts and intentions are in the right place, but they can unintentionally put their charges and those around them in dangerous environments because they often simply don’t have the specialist knowledge and skills to either communicate with or support people with a brain injury.”

There are currently only ten Certified Brain Injury Specialists in the whole country, seven of whom are based within a five-mile radius of St Helens thanks to the new course.

At present, the UK has just one CBIS certificate holder for every 6.5 million people, compared to one per 35,000 in the Republic of Ireland, and one per 51,000 people in the USA.

“Brain injury is known as the silent epidemic. It does not get much recognition nor is there any formal training required for people who provide care and support for people with brain injury once they move into rehab or care outside the recognised healthcare authorities and Trusts,” said Mr. Kenyon.

“This course will help ensure that people providing support to individuals with a brain injury have a good working knowledge of the effects and changes brought about by an injury to the brain.”