Rehabilitation calls for different levels of support at different times. John describes his experiences progressing through several different services in Headway Cork…
My first time hearing about the name Headway was when I was a client in Bridhaven Nursing Home in Mallow Co. Cork, while I was waiting on a liver transplant in the year 2011. I attended a Headway Day Service for two days a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We used to do many different activities which I found very interesting at that time. We used to do puzzles, play card games, read the daily paper and we had a book club. We also used to watch films. I found it very beneficial to me at the time and it has helped me to improve to the position I am in at the moment (very good indeed).
While I was attending the Headway centre in Mallow, I made some very good friends there. It was a great break for me to get out of the nursing home and it felt part of the real world both in the educational value and in the social interaction. Then in 2013, I had a liver operation and my condition improved drastically. I left the nursing home when I was deemed responsible enough to go home to live alone in Rathcormac.
I still attended Headway day services for a couple of months but I was advised that I would be better suited to move onto a rehabilitative training (RT) programme in the Headway centre in Ballincollig which offered a more suitable kind of course for me. At first I was very reluctant, as over the two years or so, I had built up a good relationship with the people in Headway and all the other clients in the group. But in the end, I made the right decision and I was helped greatly by the Headway staff.
In Ballincollig, it was more structured on the RT programme as we had a lot of different modules like cooking, gardening, art, cognitive skills and computers which I had a great interest in. While I was in there, I again met a lot of new lovely people, both staff and wonderful clients who were in similar position to myself. We all have an acquired brain injury which we were not born with.
Again, I was told it was time to move on -that there was another course on the horizon. So with the good advice of the Headway staff, I was on the move again. The new course was in Headway’s centre in Carrigrohane Road which is just near the county hall.
This Local Training Initiative (LTI) course was a more serious course – it was even more structured then Ballincollig. It is a FETAC level 3 and 4 course with several different modules including work experience, workplace safety, career planning, word processing, internet skills and nutrition and healthy options. It also had team working which is very important in today’s world.
On the course, I have learned a great deal about things which are needed in all aspects of modern life such as computers which are essential for online shopping, emails, facebook, skype and any information you can get off Google. Since doing this course with Headway, I have learned a great deal about computers – I now own my own laptop and my own android tablet. Before, all I knew about a tablet was the medication I was on!
I have learned how to do a good interview and all that goes with it to be successful in applying for a good position in whatever you are best suited to. Also, I have got certified in Manual Handling, Patient Handling, First Aid and Fire Safety.
While I have been with Headway, my communication and interaction skills have improved 100% and I have improved enormously in my confidence and self worth too.
At the moment I am doing some volunteer work in Farranlea Nursing Home helping the elderly in the activities sector. I help them push their wheelchairs to the chapel to be able to receive Eucharist and say some prayers. I may also take them for walks when the weather is good. I also help them play bingo and Boccia. I also have chats with them. I have become a more confident and a more understanding person, which is vitally important when you are dealing with the elderly.
My time with Headway is now coming to an end it has been a wonderful experience and I have learned a great deal and I have achieved a lot and I am happy with myself in doing so. I also have met a lot of wonderful people on my journey and I hope to have plenty of communication with them in the future. Before I joined Headway, I was in a very bad place both physically and mentally but with help I am now in a much better place. I have many new friends and my state of health is excellent.
Headway helped me see the world with a different pair of eyes where I see life in a much different light to before. I am a much more confident man now and I look forward to a good and rewarding life helping and looking after people who aren’t in a position to help themselves. I know myself that I was once in that position.
Share your Story with us
We would love to hear from you. Whether you are a client, carer, volunteer, researcher, or a generous supporter, we want to hear from you. Your story is what makes it all worthwhile to us and to our donors.