In 2015, more than 1,400 individuals and families were supported by the HATS project, providing information and emotional support as well as signposting and accompanying families to medical team meetings about their loved ones.
Brian Clingan, Director of Services at Headway UK, said: "We are delighted that the Big Lottery has recognised the importance of the HATS scheme and the lifeline it offers families in urgent need of support following a brain injury.
"Quite often families find themselves bewildered, isolated and surrounded by medical jargon in the acute stages of brain injury, with no understanding or guidance on how to access appropriate practical and emotional support.
"By doubling the number of HATS nurses in hospitals and trauma centres across the country, our aim is to ensure that more families have access to someone who can explain what is happening and guide them through such a confusing and unimaginably difficult time.
“We are very grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for its generous support.”
What is the role of a HATS nurse?
Headway Acute Trauma Support (HATS) nurses provide emotional and practical support, information and advice to family members and carers of people in the early stages following an acquired brain injury, especially those in critical care or high dependency units.
Key responsibilities may include:
- Being a 'listening ear' and source of emotional support
- Acting as a link between other services, e.g. hospital staff, community support
- Providing information and guidance on how to apply for benefits and/or compensation claims
- Advising on the Headway Emergency Fund
- Signposting to other organisations/care and rehabilitation services, and local Headway groups and branches
- Attending meetings with hospital staff with/on behalf of family members
Service user Joanne Atkinson said: "When I first sustained my brain injury, I withdrew into myself and felt like I was going crazy. HATS nurse Alex Power was superb in making me feel normal and she helped me realise that I was not alone. I would have been totally lost without her continued support and, even years later, I find it reassuring to keep her number in my phone."
"Sue Best was phenomenal," said Mother Jackie Flavell. "We were told three times that my son Luke may not survive even 48 hours and we had so many questions that weren't being answered. Sue became our vital lifeline and guiding hand throughout the whole process.”Back