Families and Carers

Drama classes at Headway

“the majority of carers had found it hard to accept that the brain injury was a life-changing event and that things would never be as they were before. Many commented that the ‘hidden’ disabilities and their effects were the most difficult to deal with and to convey to others – even to close family members – and that getting the right kind of support from Health and Social Services for these problems was extremely difficult.”

“Although many carers described feeling a range of negative emotions some did mention the rewarding aspects of caring. A number said they had become more aware of the value of life as a result of nearly losing a loved one. Not being taken for granted and being thanked for their efforts helped carers to feel valued and appreciated.”

Kings College London study: ‘Acquired Brain Injury – Impact on Carers, January 2007’


Headway Derby has been providing services for local brain injured people, their families and carers since 1994.  We work closely with local NHS and Social Services teams to help  carers and families understand how they can access the support they need on a day to day basis.

We know how challenging it can be living with brain injury on a day to day basis and that’s why we offer a patient and supportive approach to help families and carers come to terms with a brain injury affecting a loved one.

Our staff are always on hand answer your many and varied questions on brain injury. For those of you wanting to know more about brain injury we also offer carers access to training courses through our links with the national Headway charity. Our current families and carers tell us the services we provide offer valuable respite care and support through the provision of approaches that value the individual.

Our services also offer opportunities for people with a brain injury to gain from a support group of individuals who face similar challenges on a day to day basis.

Coping with Brain Injury

People who suffer brain injury are often able to recover and lead relatively normal lives. However, in some cases the results of the injury can have a significant effect on the family. Brain injury can cause changes in personality, unusual behaviour and diminishment in the person’s ability to function, and family members have to take on new responsibilities to adjust to these changes. The family can also be affected financially if the person is no longer able to work or if someone must give up a job to become a carer. Family members can have difficulty coming to terms with the change in a loved one’s personality and adjusting to their unfamiliar behaviours. Outlined below is some advice to help you cope with the transition into living with brain injury.

Before leaving hospital

  • Get information: Find out as much as you can about the effects the brain injury will have on your relative and how you can deal with their new behaviours.
  • Make your needs known: Contact healthcare professionals, social services, benefits agencies and voluntary organisations to assert your needs and gain support.
  • Arrange your finances: Sort out your benefits before your relative leaves the hospital and talk to your bank manager for advice on changes to your financial situation.
  • Talk to specialists: Contact organisations such as Headway who are experienced in dealing with brain injury and can help with any potential problems that may arise.
  • Prepare to fill in for your relative: Ascertain what your relative will no longer be able to do and arrange for those responsibilities to be taken on by someone else.
  • Allocate tasks to all family members so the load is lightened.

After leaving hospital

  • Seek support: Make sure there is someone, such as a friend or support group, with whom you can talk about any problems you might have. Ask family and friends to help you find solutions to problems, they may find one you hadn’t thought of.
  • Plan: Consider the change in your situation and reassess your ambitions. Set new goals and take positive steps to achieve them.
  • Keep up the things you enjoy: Do enjoyable things together when you can, but allow yourself a break too. Respite care can be arranged, and Headway will give advice whenever possible.

We currently provide support to carers on a weekly basis, provided alternative weeks at Headway House, and within the Kings Lodge Rehabilitation Unit at the Royal Derby Hospital.  Support, information and advice is provided by Pat, one of our loyal and long-standing volunteers, herself a mother of a brain injured son. If you would like to speak to Pat, please phone our office – 01332 298577, or email: mail@headwayderby.org, and we will put you in touch.

Read more about Pat’s experience as a Carer:

“This service is fantastic. I wish I could have had this kind of help and support before now. I would definitely recommend the service. Before now I felt isolated, I didn’t have anybody knowledgeable to talk to, just family who didn’t fully understand about brain injuries.”

Information Packs

For more information you can download our information sheets:

 Service Users  Professionals  Families & Carers