Frequently Asked Questions about Headway Services

What does Headway do?

Headway is a community based rehabilitation service for people whose lives have been affected by Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Our rehabilitation programmes are client centred and individualised for the specific needs of each person.

Do Headway provide services for people who have had a stroke?

Yes, we provide services for people who have sustained brain injuries of varying causes, including stroke.

What Services Does Headway Provide?

Services include a range of both group and individual interventions, which aim at increasing your independence, as well as improving your social connectedness and engagement with your community.  Overall, we aim to improve your quality of life.

Our programmes include Day Rehabilitation, Rehabilitative Training, Vocational Training, Community Reintegration, Psychological and Neuropsychological support, family supports, including social work as well as a national telephone helpline (1890 200 278).

Please see this section of our site for more detailed information.

Where are Headway services based?

We have services in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Tralee and Carlow. Find more locations here.

We also operate a national helpline 1890 200 278 Monday – Friday which is operational between the hours 9am-1pm and 2pm -5pm. You can also contact us by email or use our chat service.

When are Headway Services Open?

Services based in our centres normally operate between 9 and 5 on weekdays. Occasionally, services run outside these hours to facilitate specific needs.  Because rehabilitation programmes are individualised, the exact number of days or hours you attend is determined by your rehabilitation needs, and will be discussed with you fully, both at initial assessment and throughout the service.

Is there a charge for Headway services?

No, our services are free of charge.  We are a registered charity and receive core funding from the Health Services Executive.

Who can use Headway services?

Our Application Criteria: 

  • We will accept a referral from you or your family member or carer or professional working on your behalf, providing there is evidence of an Acquired Brain Injury.  When we receive your form, we consult your medical records to obtain further information about the nature of your brain injury.
  • Generally, you must be aged 18 and above. Some strands of our services are limited to those under 65 years, this is because of funding restrictions and service appropriateness. Any age restrictions will be outlined clearly with you.
  • You must be medically stable – Headway does not administer or monitor any invasive medical procedures (e.g. feeding tubes, Foley catheters, injections etc.).
  • You must be motivated and able to engage with the process of rehabilitation.
  • When we have established the evidence of ABI from your medical history or other sources, we invite you and a family member, carer, partner or other person who knows you well for an initial appointment with us. This is your chance to say what type of help you are looking for and our chance to meet you and establish how best we will be able to help you. We encourage you to discuss any concerns with us, and our services will be fully explained to you and you will have an opportunity to ask any questions at a Needs Assessment.
  • Headway provides services for people whose main difficulty is their or their loved one’s brain injury and associated recovery. Each referral will be considered individually, but we do not usually work with people whose main difficulties are not related to their brain injury. Where the main difficulty is not clear from the referral form, we will invite you to attend a Needs Assessment and the decision regarding the most appropriate service(s) will be made following this assessment.
  • Some people have complex needs which mean that our rehabilitation services are not necessarily appropriate. Where your needs are better met in another service (e.g. addiction treatment programme, mental health services, intellectual disability service, older adult/dementia service), we will provide you with information about appropriate agencies. In this situation, you may engage with Headway again in the future as soon as you are able to benefit fully from rehabilitation.

How is it decided what service I will get?

Before you enter services, an initial assessment is carried out. You and a family member or support person (where appropriate) meet with members of the Rehabilitation team, where a comprehensive overview of  your situation and your rehabilitation needs is gathered. Together, the Rehabilitation team, including you and your family member/support person develop the best possible individualised rehabilitation plan.  Following this assessment, you are provided with written follow up, containing the outline of the plan and more details of the service. Depending on your needs and circumstances, the Rehabilitation team may also include agents or agencies external to Headway in the plan, including referral agents, employers and nursing home staff amongst others.

Will I get a Personal Service Plan?

Yes. Individual service plans are developed and reviewed in collaboration with you, and designed to reflect your personal goals. The plan is reviewed regularly and adapted to suit your evolving needs/goals. As the service is concerned with increasing your independence, and encouraging meaningful engagement within your own community, discharge is considered from the initial plan, taking account of your needs and goals as well as available support systems, and the strengths and challenges you are facing.

Many people maintain a long-term engagement with Headway services, perhaps with reducing levels of support over time and a phased and supported return to meaningful engagement with your own community.  Decisions regarding transition through services and ultimately discharge are made by the rehabilitation team, including you and the family/support person, and reflect your needs, abilities and desired outcomes.

How do I apply for Headway Services?

Referrals to Headway services come from a variety of sources including; HSE referral agents, medical or allied health professionals working either within hospitals or within the community.  We also receive many referrals from individuals with ABI themselves, or from their family members. See this page for more information and referral forms.

Will I have to wait long for a needs assessment?

We are currently seeing waiting times of approximately 11 months. We will update this guideline as it changes.

Will I have to wait long after attending the needs assessment whilst waiting for services to begin?

This depends on the service you are referred to as some services have longer waiting lists than others. You will be advised of an approximate waiting time when your recommended services are discussed at the needs assessment.

Who can I speak to for more Information?

If you would like more information about our services, or would like to ask a question about your situation, you can contact our Helpline on 1890 200 278 or contact us through our website using this form.

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