Brain injury patients in Cumbria enjoy a new Chance For Life

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Director Louise Chance founded A Chance For Life in Manchester in 2002 as a private provider of brain injury rehabilitation and care management for adults and children. Now brain injury patients in Cumbria are set to benefit from its expansion.

Although the organisation has been in the county since 2005, Louise recently noted a Cumbria-wide demand for a rehabilitation service that could help patients with acquired brain injuries become as independent as possible.

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So Louise has now established a permanent base and clinic in Penrith, with 3 new staff: case manager and occupational therapist Kristy Blaen, case manager Debbie Donald and team administrator Alex Hagarth.

The new base will be able to help more people, many of whom have suffered serious road accidents or severe illnesses such as stroke or brain haemorrhage, whilst forging new links with the NHS, local charities and solicitors.

Depending on individual needs, the organisation's services are available either in patients' own homes or in the new clinic.

Although the care provided by A Chance For Life exists in the NHS, there are gaps in its provision. Kristy Blaen expressed a hope to work with the NHS and local charities to ensure all needs are being met in the long term.

"We focus on everyday function. We look at the person and what roles they have – whether they are employed, a parent, a child of school age," she said.

"We look at how their injury has affected those day-to-day roles and how we can help them return to everyday independence.

"Often it’s only a little thing that can make a big difference. We want people to be as independent as possible, doing the things they want to do."

Kristy said that the base's new outpatient clinics will make services accessible to even more people. Although a private company, she added that patients who receive benefits through Direct Payments can opt to use them on these services.

Natalie Rodgers of Simpson Millar LLP welcomed the new centre. "A Chance For Life is already known throughout Lancashire, Cumbria and Scotland as a centre of excellence for innovative, reliable and cost-effective services to sufferers of brain injuries," she said. "That still more people stand to benefit from its expansion is good news indeed."

A Chance For Life has already held an open day for NHS staff, charity workers and solicitors, showing more of what it offers and looking at how all parties can best work together.

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