Opinion Former Article

Disabilities Trust: Special award for brain injury charity

A leading national brain injury charity, which runs a number of specialist rehabilitation services has been awarded a unique accolade from an independent, internationally recognised accrediting body that enhances its standing as a provider of the highest quality rehabilitation services for people with acquired brain injury. To showcase this achievement, a series of special seminars for local professionals working in the field of brain injury - which focuses on quality outcomes using an international model of accreditation - are being held by the Trust's services in various parts of the country.

The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT), has several residential and community-based services across the Midlands and South of England which have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for the next three years. Following on from a similar award for its Northern-based services in March 2006, this now means that BIRT has become the first brain injury rehabilitation service in England to achieve this highly prestigious status for its services nationally.

The award represents a tangible illustration of BIRT's dedication and commitment to improving the quality of life for people with acquired brain injury, caused typically as a result of a car accident, stroke, disease or assault.

The process of gaining the accreditation involved an extensive review of all aspects of BIRT's facilities, policies and procedures in order to conform to rigorous standards laid down by CARF. In its review, CARF praised BIRT as a "highly mission-driven organisation which places an emphasis on optimising quality of life" and for going to "great lengths to solicit and respond to input from its service users".

Lynn Turley, Service Director for BIRT, said "this achievement is a real validation of the quality of our rehabilitation services, setting the highest standards that our service users expect and deserve. By complying with the CARF standards on an ongoing basis, this award will lead to continuing improvements for our service users and provide greater reassurance for their families and also for funding bodies".

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Notes to Editors

1. The name of service is a specialist residential rehabilitation service for . people with acquired brain injury.

2. The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT) is one of Europe's leading independent providers of specialised brain injury rehabilitation services, ranging from assessment to comprehensive rehabilitation, long-term housing and care, and community-based support. BIRT currently supports nearly 550 people with acquired brain injury, helping them to regain lost skills, recover their social independence and successfully re-integrate into the community. For further information, please visit www.birt.co.uk.

3. BIRT is a division of the national charity, The Disabilities Trust, which provides expert care and support services to people with profound physical impairments, autism and learning disabilities, as well as brain injury. For further information on the work of The Disabilities Trust, please visit www.disabilities-trust.org.uk.

4. The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) is an independent, international non-profit body, founded in America in 1966. It provides accreditation in the human services field, focusing on the areas of rehabilitation, employment and community, children and families and ageing services. CARF standards are developed and constantly revised through a number of leadership panels, national advisory committees, focus groups and field reviews.

5. The CARF accreditation covers all of BIRT's services nationwide, ranging from our assessment and rehabilitation units, through to our continuing rehabilitation units and our community-based rehabilitation programmes. The Northern-based services award extends until March 2009 and that for the Midlands and the South until June 2010. Full details of the location of our services can be found on our website.

6. For general press enquiries, please contact David Eggleston, Marketing & Fundraising Manager for The Disabilities Trust, on 01444 237294 or 07734 972779.

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