More than 200 people from charities, health, and social care organisations joined legal specialists and families at a conference in Shropshire to discuss how brain injuries affect people’s lives.
The conference, called Surviving Brain Injury: The Journey, was organised by brain injury specialists Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors and took place at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury.
Among the speakers were medical professionals from the Midlands Air Ambulance and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, along with experts in rehabilitation from Headwise, AJ Case Management, Headway Shropshire and The Movement Centre in Oswestry.
Neil Lorimer, one of the UK’s leading brain injury legal specialists, is head of personal injury at Lanyon Bowdler, and hosted the event recently with Kay Kelly, Lanyon Bowdler’s head of clinical negligence.
He said: “It was an excellent conference, full of moving, informative speeches from people across the spectrum of brain injury expertise.
“The aim of the event was to provide information for people currently dealing with a brain injury about the support that is out there, as well as providing an opportunity for professionals to share their knowledge about the latest developments in rehabilitation and medical techniques.
“I think it’s fair to say the event exceeded everyone’s expectations. We organised it because we see first hand how brain injury affects people in every aspect of their lives.
“Our team advises on a broad range of legal areas for those affected, including personal injury or clinical negligence claims, Court of Protection, problems with employers or the police, relationship break-up and buying property.
“We make every effort to look holistically at the needs of the individual and help them to get the support they need in every different context.”
Neil added: “However, one of the key issues raised at the conference was how rehabilitation was lagging behind acute care and research in terms of funding.
“It’s an interesting point and one that we hope we can move forward as a result of this conference.”
Keynote speaker, Dr Nick Crombie, Clinical Lead from Midlands Air Ambulance, said: “More people are now surviving serious brain injuries due to advancements in medical care in recent years. This brings with it new challenges.”
People who have had experience of living with a brain injury themselves also spoke at the conference, including Sharon Morris from Bridgnorth, who is a client of Lanyon Bowdler, and Zara Bowden, the Local Offer Co-ordinator with Shropshire Council as well as co-chair of the Parent And Carer Council (PACC) in Shropshire.
Zara, who has a daughter with cerebral palsy, said many families had to be “parent warriers” to fight for the right support for their children who lived with brain injuries.
Zara and Sharon were among a number of people at the conference who called for greater awareness of the support that is available for people with brain injuries.
Kay Kelly, head of clinical negligence at Lanyon Bowdler, said: “Our motivation for holding the conference was to bring together professionals working in the field of brain injury in our region to include charitable organisations.
“As is often said, knowledge is power. The more we all know about what is available in our local communities we can better help and support and refer to each other for the benefit of those of us who tragically sustain a brain injury.”
A proportion of the ticket sales will be donated to Midlands Air Ambulance, Headway Shropshire and The Movement Centre.