What we are and what we do

We are a specialist service that provides help and guidance to individuals who have experienced a brain injury, and their families to provide a caring and personalised programme of rehabilitation.

We provide:

  • secialist assessment
  • rehabilitation to maximum level of independence
  • personal
  • individual
  • supportive.

Integrated care pathways.JPG

ABIRS groups

  • brain injury education
  • cognitive rehabilitation
  • exercise group
  • practical skills - allotment
  • table tennis
  • ACT/emotional resilience
  • fatigue management – recovery education centre.

Who can make a referral?

  • any health or social care professional
  • self-referrals.

How to access:

Via referral

  • type of injury
  • date of injury
  • consequences/problems since Injury
  • rehabilitation goals the person wants to work towards.

Contact details

East Dorset
Poole Community Health Clinic
Shaftesbury Road
BH15 2NT
Tel: 01202 308 077
Fax: 01202 667 009

West Dorset
30 Maiden Castle Road
Tel: 01305 214 500

Email: community.braininjury@dhuft.nhs.uk


Pattern of service


Liaison with treating teams and referrers.  Offering consultation and advice and reviewing management plans.


Clinical appraisal by a single professional to make an initial cognitive assessment and formulation of problems. This may lead to a programme of rehabilitation in the service, referral to other or less specialist services, or discharge to the GP with self-management advice.

Goal orientated rehabilitation

This will focus on the core values and aspirations expressed by the person with ABI and involve more than one professional group.  Goal achievement and changes in DHT approval outcome measures will be assessed at regular review or at a later multi-disciplinary clinic. The rehabilitation programme is likely to involve participation in one or more therapeutic groups.


Rehabilitation will progress to a prepared discharge when the person with ABI and the referrer will be provided with a summary of the interventions that were undertaken and advice for continued self-management.  People with ABI may be referred to other services for review or presented with one or two reviews from a clinician previously involved with their treatment.

Referral Criteria

Catchment areas: Dorset GP

Referral process: Dr JPS Burn, GP, community services, self-referral.

A person with severe (usually diffuse) brain injury with specialist rehabilitation needs whose management is not able to be addressed by other or less specialist services. 

In particular:

  • able and willing to be actively involved in rehabilitation
  • registered with a Dorset GP
  • other mental health co-morbidities exclusions
  • within the adult age range without frailty or multiple comorbid conditions
  • if the person has suffered a focal brain injury such as a stroke, then this should have led to special issues of participation/vocation that requires the particular skills of the service to address
  • if the person has associated problems with alcohol or substance abuse then they must comply with a management plan to address such issues so that it does not prevent successful engagement with assessment and therapy.

Priority will be given to people with ABI discharged from the inpatient service on Portland Ward or who have received further CCG funded specialist rehabilitation.

We accept people with the following presentations and needs.
Acquired brain injury with a priority given to people with traumatic brain injury.

These conditions are characteristically diffuse damage to the brain and interruption of cortical and subcortical networks leading to characteristic physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioural difficulties.

These types of brain injury affect particularly people with premorbid problems such as

  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Housing/homeless issues
  • Mental health problems
  • Complex social difficulties.

The ABIS has developed expertise in the formulation of brain injury related within the context of such problems and establishing a broad based management plan.

Subarachnoid Haemorrhage (SAH)

SAH can be complicated by diffuse ischaemic injury from vascular spasm resulting in profound memory and other neuro-cognitive impairments within the context of an acute life threatening condition. As a result it shares many characteristics of diffuse acquired brain injury.


Some people with an atypical type of stroke stroke have particular rehabilitation needs that require the expertise of the acquired brain injury rehabilitation service.

Referrals of people with atypical stroke may be considered in exceptional situations for people who are:

  • younger and living within a fragile social network
  • in employment or training
  • experiencing severe secondary stress, from loss of previous roles
  • have complex cognitive, emotional or behavioural problems.

Such people should be referred after assessment by stroke services and following the completion of standard post stroke therapy. This is because ABIRS rehabilitation is tailored for longer-term life-aim-related rehabilitation and therefore does not have sufficient therapy resource to provide regular task based practice as required for the fast-paced shorter-term rehabilitation required post stroke.

Consultation and training

ABIRS may be able to offer consultation, training and advice to local generic and neurological rehabilitation services.

ABIRS also sometimes works in collaboration with local rehabilitation services, share resources or set-up a collaborative rehabilitation programme whilst that person remains with the caseload of the local service.

If uncertain as to whether a person should be referred to the service, please contact us.

Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service