Hats off to you all

Hats Off to You All

Over the weekend I was reflecting on the annual UK wide ‘Hats off for Headway Campaign’. I started thinking about different hats that our team members wear professionally when working with clients – who all have an acquired brain injury.

These hats range from:

  • Listening ear
  • Advocate
  • Brain Injury expert
  • Confidante
  • Educator
  • Supporter
  • Safety net
  • Motivator
  • Rehabilitator
  • Straight-talker
  • Welfare advisor


The team deal with so many challenging situations on a daily basis, and I hope the following provides some insight into this.

Answering a Cry for Help

Starting from our first contact which is often answering a cry for help where we will be listening, reassuring and advising the person on the phone. This leads to a more detailed assessment, which is carried out by an experienced member of the team who explores the needs of the individual and those they live with and how we can best meet those needs.

Understanding and Addressing Needs

A keyworker is then appointed based on the individual’s needs, goals and long-term ambitions. The keyworker will work with the client to come up with a ‘care plan’ and together they will complete an ‘Outcome Star’ where they agree and set goals for over the coming weeks and months. Often family members are included during the goal setting exercise, as they can support the person at home in between their contact with Headway Essex.

Understanding Brain Injury

Brain injury is the hidden disability, walking down the street, going into a shop even meeting up with someone you haven’t seen for a long-time is challenging for some. The keyworker needs to understand the person they were before the injury and how the individual has been affected by their particular brain injury. People affected by acquired brain injury and those around them don’t always immediately realize how brain injury affects day-to-day information processing and the effect this has on normal responses and reactions – it changes someone’s personality.

Straight Talking and Supportive

The team at Headway are often the sounding board for much of this distressing change, they then need to work with the individual and family, being direct and honest about the impact that this has had on their life and find ways to help them to manage and adjust to it.

Feedback Makes it all Worthwhile

Getting feedback from clients makes wearing all of these hats worthwhile.

Today, a client said: “I would just like to say how Headway have helped me after my brain aneurysm, with weekly phone call from the girls. I’m now in touch with others who have had similar problems, I really appreciate your time and reassurance, so many thanks.”

Keeping Close to Our Clients During Lockdown

Since lockdown we have been working differently with our clients using telephone welfare calls and virtual activity sessions as the mainstay of our services.

One of our Hub Managers, Gemma, recently explained to me how this new way of working has somehow made the relationship with clients feel much closer! She also explained that over the last two months we have learnt more about our clients and their family members than ever before.

Headway Essex are here to support our clients through some very emotional times by offering support with goals and ambitions, helping them gain access to supplies, and by being that listening ear.

It’s food for thought for all of us – because whatever hat we are wearing, we know that our support is important to them and us, now more than ever.

Join us for Hats at Home for Headway Essex

You can help ensure our support is always there for adults with acquired brain injury and their families by joining us on Friday 15th May for Hats at Home for Headway.

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