March 6, 2019

Growing the New You – four themes from the Recolo conference on brain injury rehabilitation

RWK Goodman recently sponsored Recolo’s third national conference, ‘Growing the New You’. Recolo – a team of clinical psychologists and educational psychologists working with children, young people and their families to improve quality of life after brain injury – put on what proved to be a fantastic day with inspiring talks from leaders in their field on thought provoking topics.

The conference, which focused on rehabilitation following a brain injury, offered some real insight into four key themes in the field:

One size does not fit all

Every brain injury is unique. This was the message eloquently summed up by Dr Howard Fine when he said “when you’ve seen one brain injury, you’ve seen one brain injury”.

And it was a message that we really got to see in practice when we heard from Lotje Sodderland on her Emmy nominated film ‘My Beautiful Broken Brain’. The film, available to watch on Netflix, tells the story of her journey following a haemorrhagic stroke she suffered in her thirties.

It really gave us a proper insight into how brain injury affects people differently, and how this shapes the rehabilitation needs of those with different kinds of brain injury too.

Hope and purpose

As much as neurorehabilitation needs to be realistic, it also needs to be a positive experience for the brain injured person where achievements are recognised.

For example, Professor Barbara Wilson spoke about how rehabilitation is an ongoing process and there is no final endpoint to recovery. Her message, with this in mind, is that it’s never too late to start rehabilitation as it can be a lifelong process.

Dr Peter Tucker talked about goal setting and being flexible in adapting this to each person’s wants and needs. This obviously fits in with the theme identified above; every person’s brain injury is unique, so goals need to be set that are appropriate to ensure that their experience of rehabilitation is a positive one and gives them and those close to them hope for the future.

Seeing things differently

Alternative rehabilitation was a real focus at the conference this time around.

We heard from Dr Sophie Gosling on innovative ways of doing this and engaging with the person’s interests in the creative arts such as magic, music and sport.

Speaking of magic, this was the first brain injury conference they had been to where one of the speakers was a professional magician. Jamie Raven of Britain’s Got Talent fame treated us to a spectacular show to challenge people’s perceptions of what they are seeing. A really great way to show how your perspective can change in the blink of an eye, if only you’re shown things a different way.

Client-centred approach

Rehabilitation doesn’t work unless the person is engaged. As such, a recurring theme throughout the day was having a holistic approach as how we feel affects how we think, remember, communicate, solve problems and behave.

It’s important to have a multidisciplinary approach with the client at the centre. At RWK Goodman we believe in the team around the client with good communication between those involved.

Lois Shafik-Hooper, COO of Recolo, had this to say about the conference:

"We are so pleased that so many people were able to join us the Recolo conference, as our aim was to bring people together to think about how to help children, young people and their families live and grow following a brain injury.  We thought that there was a great energy to the day, everyone was engaged and participative and it was so good that personal stories were included, particularly that of Lotje Sodderland. Our speakers, our audience and our event coordinators were all brilliant!”

RWK Goodman is proud to have sponsored ‘Growing the New You’ and hope the delegates got as much out of the day as we did.

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