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Calvert Reconnections to open on
Monday 21 June 2021

Ground-breaking neurorehabilitation centre Calvert Reconnections will open its doors on Monday 21 June 2021 - bringing an exciting new dimension to brain injury rehabilitation in the UK.

Calvert Reconnections, located on the outskirts of the bustling market town of Keswick in the Lake District, has developed the UK’s first residential brain injury rehabilitation programme combining traditional clinical therapies with physical activity in the outdoors. 

The centre is a beautifully adapted grade II listed building, providing real-life rehabilitation in a real-life setting.
“We are thrilled to be opening our doors on 21 June,” said Centre Director, Sean Day.
 
“Every year in the UK, hundreds of thousands of people suffer life-changing brain injuries.”
 
“Our pioneering rehabilitation programme will combine effective multi-disciplinary neurorehabilitation with the specialist tradition at the Calvert Trust of providing outdoor experience for people with disabilities.”
 
Added Sean: “There is growing evidence that physical and outdoor activity promotes neuroplasticity post-brain injury whilst also improving people’s mental health, outlook and wellbeing.”
 
“We actively seek to incorporate a wide range of outdoor activities into our rehabilitation programme to achieve each participant’s identified goals. This may range from reflective activities such as fishing, bird watching or a nature walk to higher adventure activities such as horse riding, canoeing, rock-climbing and abseiling. This is closely assessed and graded to a person’s interests and functional abilities.”
 
Calvert Reconnections will launch its new residential service with three confirmed participants. The centre is continuing to take referrals in advance of its June opening.
Clare Appleton                                            Lorna Mulholland

Senior appointments at Calvert Reconnections

 

Calvert Reconnections has strengthened its management team with the appointment of Claire Appleton as Head of Service and Lorna Mulholland as Registered Manager.
 
Claire Appleton, an Occupational Therapist, has 23 years’ experience working in the NHS.  Her passion has always been to work in the community setting and she has held various community roles including Acquired Brain Injury, long term neuro conditions, neurological splinting and stroke rehab.  Five years ago, Claire moved into a management post in the NHS leading the Eden Community Rehab Team, developing strategic specialist leadership and management skills, and gaining valuable experience delivering high quality health services.
 
Lorna Mulholland has 12 years’ specialised experience within the social care sector, principally in Acquired Brain Injury, learning disabilities, Mental Health and autism. She has an extensive knowledge base when delivering care within a residential and supported living setting with experience in complex challenging behaviour. Lorna spent four years as part of a clinical team in the community within the private sector, working with two individuals who had long term neurological conditions.  During this time, she spent a year working within the intensive care unit. 

Where does brain injury sit in relation to the Covid-19 vaccination programme?


A poll by Calvert Reconnections indicates that the majority (61%) of case managers are unclear about where brain injury sits in relation to the Covid-19 vaccination programme and the high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable) and moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) categories.

Lorna Mulholland, Registered Manager at Calvert Reconnections, says there are clear contradictions between the Government, who fund the vaccination programme, and the NHS who are delivering it.


According to NHS Guidance, those who have a condition that affects the brain or nerves come under the heading of moderate risk (clinically vulnerable). Also included in this group are those with heart disease, individuals taking steroids, people with diabetes, lung, heart, kidney and liver disease. Similarly, people with a high risk of getting infections, obesity and pregnancy are incorporated.

This moderate risk group is advised that they will not receive a letter for their vaccination and need to continue to follow social distancing guidelines.

As the NHS is implementing the vaccination, should this guidance be listened to or should Government advice take priority?

Contrary to NHS guidance, the Government states that chronic neurological conditions are considered as high risk and are a priority for the vaccination programme. This publication states that severe neurological disability, conditions similar to motor neurone disease and epilepsy are just a few of many neurological conditions that are clinically extremely vulnerable and therefore require a vaccination as soon as possible.

Individuals with an ABI are often diagnosed with secondary conditions. When a person is diagnosed with an ABI the initial diagnosis takes precedence and there is the potential that secondary symptoms are lost in clinical notes, thus removing ailments from diagnosis statistics. This could make it almost impossible for clinical notes to collect the information and address the need to vaccinate patients with an ABI as a priority during the vaccination rollout programme. Following the guidance from NHS England, could we be leaving a highly vulnerable section of the population to fight an illness when they are not strong enough to do so?

According to 2018 data, there were 1.4 million people living with a brain injury in England. Symptoms or subsequent complications that can be caused by the injury include cognitive deterioration, behavioural changes which can include disinhibition, psychiatric symptoms and an alteration to their level of consciousness. These are all conditions which create a susceptibility for clients with an ABI to be vulnerable to catching and transmitting Covid-19.
Professionals who work with clients that are within this category understand the increasing concerns of individuals and families.

During a time when social isolation is the prescribed route, the behavioural, emotional, and psychological effects caused by an ABI can become more pronounced. One nurse has explained that some people with ABI cannot comprehend social distancing and are therefore at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 and transmitting it. If schizophrenia and bipolar disorders are clinically extremely vulnerable due to a lack of capacity regarding distancing, those with an ABI should be too.

If chronic respiratory disease is a diagnosis that requires a vaccination to avoid mortality then persons affected by the ‘symptom’ of an inability to breathe or swallow effectively, should also be provided for. Should these clients accept NHS Guidelines?

A Professor of Neurosurgery; Peter Hutchinson, stated to one organisation that “I encourage all brain injury survivors and carers to get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity.”

There are clearly a multitude of contradictions between the Government, who fund the vaccination programme, and the NHS who are delivering it.

With the two main bodies unable to reach agreement and follow identical guidelines, the recommended course of action for anyone with an ABI is to seek the support of their GP in order to become prioritised for vaccination.
 

New research - Covid-19 and the risk of developing neurological conditions

New research has revealed that contracting Covid-19 increases the risk of developing neurological conditions.
The study, published in The Lancet, analysed the TriNetX electronic 2020 health records of more than 230,000 Covid-19 patients, mostly from the US.

One in three Covid-19 survivors (34%) were diagnosed with a neurological or psychiatric condition within six months of being infected.

University of Oxford researchers found that for those who were admitted to hospital or intensive care, the risk became even higher at 39%.

This rose to 46% in those who needed intensive care, and 62% among people who had encephalopathy while battling Covid-19.
For 13% of people, it was their first neurological or psychiatric diagnosis.

As well as the most common effects in those with the virus - anxiety and mood disorders - other neurological consequences included brain haemorrhage, stroke, dementia and psychosis.

The research concluded that “substantial effects on health and social care systems are likely to occur” and that further “urgent” research needs to be carried out to establish how such effects happen and what can be done to treat them.

Save the date!
Thursday 27 May 2021
12-30 - 1.30 pm

 
Zoominar for case managers, solicitors and insurers.
 
Join us on our journey - how Calvert Reconnections is bringing an exciting new dimension to brain injury rehabilitation in the UK.
 
Further details to follow.

 
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Lake District Calvert Trust.  Registered Charity No. 270923

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