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The impact of lockdown...

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The impact of lockdown on brain injury survivors and their families

Tue 04 Aug 2020

A study into the impact of COVID-19 and the associated lockdown on people who are affected by brain injury.

Supported by Dr Andy Tyerman, Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist and Trustee, Headway – the brain injury association.

The impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on those affected by brain injury summary infographic - 65% feel isolated - 62% increased fear of the future - 57% of recently injured lost vital rehab - 60% negative impact on mental health - 53% worsening of depression - 64% increased anxiety


The impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures raised immediate concerns about how the far-reaching changes in routine would affect people with brain injury and their relatives. Lockdown has brought unprecedented change for us all. However, the effects of brain injury complicate survivors’ ability to adapt to lockdown and increase personal and family impact. Further, lockdown has restricted input from services at a time when support is needed more than ever before.

Depending on the part of the brain affected and the severity of the injury, the effects of the brain injury can differ greatly. Survivors can suffer a physical impact such as reduced mobility and balance and coordination problems, cognitive impairment such as memory loss, impaired reasoning and judgement, and emotional and behavioural effects such as mood swings and sudden emotional outbursts.

Feedback from colleagues at Headway and community brain injury rehabilitation services reinforced initial concerns about increased confusion, irritability, frustration, anxiety, low mood, social isolation and suicidal thoughts. If this was the case for some people receiving ongoing support, then what might be happening to others who are not?

In response Headway – the brain injury association produced a questionnaire to explore the experience of lockdown for people living with the long-term effects of brain injury and their relatives through SurveyMonkey. This was completed by 1,140 people, of which 933 were people with brain injury, 121 partners, 53 parents and 33
other family members or carers.

The responses reinforce the impact and challenge of lockdown for people with brain injury and their families – many of whom were already living with the significant additional challenges that a brain injury can cause.

Download the full report (PDF)


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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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