Every State and Territory was represented at Brain Injury Australia’s 6th National Brain Injury Conference, held at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital’s on the 13th and 14th November. The 300 delegates heard over 30 international and local experts in the rehabilitation and recovery from brain injury present on: best practice cognitive rehabilitation; the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for people with a brain injury; research frontiers in neuroplasticity and rehabilitation – featuring the 2017 Australian of the Year, Professor Emeritus Alan Mackay-Sim; concussion and mild traumatic brain injury; the “most detailed brain image ever acquired”; and innovations in regional, rural, remote and culturally secure service delivery.
In his opening remarks, Conference Chair Brain Injury Australia’s Executive Officer Nick Rushworth, pictured above, noted: “…perhaps the most gratifying thing about the interest in this year’s Conference is that 70 people with a brain injury, their significant others, family members, and carers have registered – more than triple the number of previous Conferences. Because it is an unfortunate, and persistent, reality of both continuing medical education in healthcare and learning and development activities in the disability sector that the lived experience – experience delivered in the first person – gets left out. Which is why, with each of these Conferences, Brain Injury Australia not only seeks to include that vital perspective throughout but gives pride of place in the program to the Consumer Opening Address…” Angela Kalantizis, pictured below, delivered a compelling and moving Consumer Opening Address on the challenges specific to “having a high functioning TBI [traumatic brain injury]” the result of a one-tonne lid of a camper trailer collapsing on her head. “In my past life, in myself I was successful. I was motivated. I grew up in a Greek household. You got up in the morning, you went to work, that’s it. No excuses. As a parent, it’s your role to put food on the table, a roof over your children’s heads, clothes on their back… And here I am now, I can’t even get out of bed,” she told the Conference. “Some days I can’t string a sentence together. I look in the mirror, I look normal. That’s been really really hard for me, I went from having my own successful home business and investigating going back to uni to study medicine. To living on a disability pension and scraping to make ends meet.”
The Conference was recorded and the presentations will soon be available on Brain Injury Australia’s – YouTube channel.
You can find out more about the speakers to the 6th National Brain Injury Conference, view the Conference program here
Brain Injury Australia is greatly thankful to the Conference partners – Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Division of Rehabilitation and Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service – and for the generous support of the sponsors – Metro South Health, GE Healthcare Australia, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, IDEAS-Information on Disability Education and Awareness Service, Brisbane South PHN, Synergistix Allied Health and Medilink.
Brain Injury Australia’s 7th National Brain Injury Conference is likely to be held in Melbourne in late 2019. Details will follow in future newsletters.