Boost for SA brain injury program

Families4Families program manager Dr Jennifer Farnden has secured funding to continue the peer support network.
Families4Families program manager Dr Jennifer Farnden has secured funding to continue the peer support network.

A peer support program for families living with an acquired brain injury (ABI) in South Australia will benefit from a $100,000 funding boost.

Established in 2013, Families4Families Inc has just secured an additional $100,000 from the Julia Farr MS McLeod Benevolent Fund to continue and extend its family-based peer supports and research across South Australia.

Supported by Flinders University’s Community Re-entry Program and the Disability and Community Inclusion Unit, the program was initially funded to research the experiences and needs of families living with ABI in SA; and to establish and evaluate an 18-month pilot peer-support network.

The network – which has now grown to 250-plus families across eight support groups SA-wide – connects families affected by acquired brain injuries and gives them the opportunity to share their experiences, positive coping strategies, adaption skills and understanding of systems through regular group meetings, social and recreational activities, online and phone support.

Families4Families program manager Dr Jennifer Farnden said the funding boost will enable the program to employ additional staff to enhance the role, participation and voice of adults living with acquired brain injury and their families.

“The next stage of the program, which has been funded until June 2015, will continue to develop and deliver monthly social, educational, recreational and community supports across metropolitan and rural SA to increase participant involvement and wider consumer participation,” Dr Farnden said.

“The expanded Families4Families program aims to build resilience, improve wellbeing and mental health, improve community access and family functioning, and result in greater community inclusion of people with ABI and their families.”

Dr Farnden said the research component of the program, led by Dr Michelle Bellon from Flinders Disability and Community Inclusion Unit, will continue to measure longitudinal outcomes on quality of life, care-giving experiences, mental health, support, and the development of sustainable informal community networks.

For more information about the network, or to join, contact Families4Families on 0433 388 250 or via email.

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