Brain Injury Pandemic Preparedness: Optimizing Community Strategies
This study will examine how community brain injury associations have changed their services to meet the needs of Canadians affected by brain injury and how to further improve services. Over 1.5 million Canadians live with chronic brain injury. After a brain injury, people often struggle to meet basic needs and stay healthy. Even before the pandemic, life was hard for people living with brain injury. They may have had difficulties in moving or thinking; had mental health issues; or been in pain or always tired. The Covid-19 pandemic has made living with brain injury worse. Many people are reporting increased brain injury symptoms due to stress, isolation, routine disruptions, and less supports. They are struggling to understand and follow public health information to stay healthy and keep others healthy. To meet these increased needs, community brain injury associations provide crucial supports and services. During the pandemic, these associations have had to quickly change their services and the way they provide them, with little guidance from public health. This project will use online information sharing meetings for staff and volunteers of brain injury associations across Canada to improve community services during pandemics. Experts in brain injury research and services will analyse and summarize the information from sharing meetings and present it back to the brain injury associations. This study will help the community associations work together and co-develop a helpful online tool to improve how they support people living with a brain injury during a public health crisis. By getting Canadian brain injury associations collaborating with each other, this project will develop an online resource that can be used to improve their services during this pandemic and in their preparations for future public health crises. The aim of this project works toward the CIHR goal of making community and social care action plans to improve the health of vulnerable people.