People with brain damage are not receiving the help they need to recover because of missed diagnoses and a lack of specialist care, the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland said today.
In a report – Missed Opportunities – the watchdog found that opportunities for individual rehabilitation were being missed because care staff and guardians were not always aware of the effects of an earlier brain injury, or the possibility of alcohol-related brain damage.
It found acquired brain injury (ABI) or alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD) were sometimes confused with dementia and needed to be identified earlier to allow people the chance to recover some of their skills.
The commission, which visited 167 individuals in a range of settings, found that a fifth of people were inappropriately placed in hospitals or care homes.
The small number of people who were receiving care and support from community-based services, or who lived independently in a supported tenancy, reported the most positive experience and the best quality of life.
However, most people received care and treatment that was considered “adequate”.
Commission director Dr Donald Lyons (pictured top) said: “Expert assessment by people that understand ABI and ARBD is essential and we were disappointed to find that this did not always happen.
“Of course, once people have been assessed the services need to be there to support them.
“Unfortunately, during our visits we saw too many people who were stuck in hospital or care homes because there was no other facility available.”
He said this was not about a lack of resources but an inefficient use of existing resources. The commission called for a national network of people with expertise in ABI and ARBD to be set up to help improve services.