Brain Injury Association Quinte District (BIAQD)
COMMUNITY BRAIN INJURY ASSOCIATION OF THE YEAR
Brain Injury Association Peterborough Region (BIAPR), a registered business name of the Four Counties Brain Injury Association, has served the Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, and Northumberland communities since 1988. BIAPR began as the Peterborough and District Head Injury Association, the first community-based brain injury Association in Peterborough, Victoria County, Haliburton, and Northumberland. From its origins providing care giver support groups in each county, the Association has evolved into a dynamic agency that provides a range of supports to a clientele with diverse and complex needs. BIAPR services are designed to form the basis of a comprehensive model of community support service delivery that is client-centred, and client directed.
BIAPR, a registered not-for-profit charitable organization, is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health (MOH) to provide Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) Day Service and individualized support through Client Service Coordinators. In addition, one-time community grants, special projects, and fundraising activities provide resources for Peer Mentoring and other projects.
BIAPR Community Support Services are led by a Community Support Team that includes a Client Service Coordinator/Supervisor responsible for intakes and assessment of each client’s needs. Clients are then assigned a Client Service Coordinator (CSC) who will support the client in their home and in the community. This may include assistance for independent living for various situations, i.e., assistance with bills, scheduling, medical appointments, as well as referrals to other community support services. The CSC team support clients to live independently in the community with personal support and independence training. Regular education groups (i.e., Intro to ABI Women’s Group, Monthly Women’s Group, and Co-Ed Intro to ABI Group) provide strategies and peer support for living with a brain injury. CSC staff collaborate in facilitating monthly education sessions called “ABI FYI” (open to registered and non-registered participants).
BIAPR ABI Day Service delivers specialized programming, designed to meet the variety of needs and capabilities of individuals living with acquired brain injury (ABI) using Therapeutic Recreation. Once an individual with an acquired or traumatic brain injury is assessed and registered in the ABI Day Service by the Recreation Therapist, there is an opportunity to participate in a wide variety of programs and services according to their strengths, needs, and interests. The individualized support and modified programming ensure positive health and wellness outcomes and include activities such as art, music, outings, physical movement, woodworking, social games, stress management, etc. Individuals receiving supports in the ABI Day Service are referred to as ‘Members’, which continues to be a tradition within the Association. BIAPR ABI Day Service continues to work in collaboration as opportunities arise with local artists and contract staff facilitators.
In January 2017, BIAPR was successful in receiving ‘Peterborough Health Links – Quality Improvement’ funding through the CE LHIN. The funding provided Coordinated Care Planning and a specialized day service called the Coordinated Care Café to support complex clients living with ABI, mental health, and addictions. Then in January of 2018 BIAPR was successful in obtaining new permanent base funding to continue these programs, allowing for an expansion of services to 30 complex client program spaces. The Coordinated Care Café staff team is comprised of an accredited Case Manager, a Recreation Therapist, and a Complex Case Worker to provide wrap around support for clients. Support services are adapted to each individual client’s needs in a facilitated ABI community setting. This approach provides an opportunity for community collaboration with social services, primary health care, justice and other community supports to ensure that these vulnerable clients do not continue to fall through the cracks of the system. The CC Café has 45-50 clients currently with a step-up and step-down model of care to meet the varying complex needs using a strength-based approach.
In 2016, BIAPR and Canadian Mental Health Association Peterborough (CMHA) began collaboratively supporting a case load of seven complex clients living with a diagnosed brain injury, a mental health diagnosis and/or addictions with intensive ABI, and Mental Health/Addictions Case Management. The CMHA and BIAPR staff work closely together to support clients in meeting their goals and needs. While receiving this support clients will also attend BIAPR ABI Day Services.
During the last couple of years of the pandemic BIAPR has pivoted to virtual supports as needed and back again to in-person supports as quickly as it has been safe to do so. It has been a busy time, but staff have continued to meet the clients’ needs on a case-by-case basis. As a result of the pandemic, the opportunity for virtual collaboration arose, and collaborative programming continues to support clients across multiple ABI agencies and associations. We continue to learn from our clients and are always looking for new funding opportunities and ways to support client needs.
The Central East ABI Navigator works out of BIAPR and supports the Central East region in Ontario. This staff works collaboratively with 13 navigators across the province to provide education, resources, and navigation for complex client cases where gaps and barriers exist.
In 2021 BIAPR was successful in applying for and receiving MOH – ABI Transitional Funding to support a client living with ABI, Mental Health, and Addictions who needed specialized support. This application process was supported by the Central East ABI Navigator. In August 2021 BIAPR received one year of funding to support the client. Throughout the year the BIAPR team and Fourcast Addiction Services have also been able to access clinical supports by Dr. Lemsky and the clinical staff at CHIRS. It has been an incredible opportunity to not only be able to meet the complex needs of the client but also to build the overall support team’s capacity to support the client.
As a specialized ABI service provider, BIAPR knows that the impact of brain injury can be devastating not only to the individual, but also to the family members, caregivers, friends, and their community. An ABI can affect every aspect of life, often resulting in loss of livelihood, isolation, as well as physical, emotional, and behavioural changes. As the awareness of brain injury increases, we are committed to supporting individuals directly and indirectly affected by ABI. To learn more about the BIAPR services please visit our website at www.biapr.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org