We all enjoy a holiday, but for service users with acquired brain injuries they are also an important part of their rehabilitation. A small group from our home in Boughton Green Road, along with care and support staff have just returned from a week in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.
A holiday is an essential part of our focus on ‘normalisation’, enabling our service users to live as close to a normal life as possible and to enjoy things that they may have done before their brain injury. The holiday activities were similar to those of many families – we had a picnic on the way to break up the journey then fish and chips for dinner in the evening. We had some lovely weather and enjoyed visiting picturesque Southwold where we walked along the promenade and admired the colourful beach huts. We also went on a train ride and enjoyed lots of meals out.
Although some of our service users need to keep to a routine, they all enjoyed the opportunity to see and experience new things and especially meeting and chatting to new people. Novel experiences enhance learning and when they are put into a functional context, such as preparing for and executing a holiday, they can provide an important source of practice and maintenance for skills.
The holiday also provided a focus for orientation for service users experiencing short term memory loss. Getting ready for the holiday and buying new toiletries or clothes was also an important activity providing cognitive stimulation and enabling the service users to be excited about going away.
Quality of life
Quality of life is important to everyone and a relaxed and leisurely week by the sea was a much welcome change of routine. In addition, each person had their own budget and could choose gifts to take back home, helping them to reconnect with family members.
We took lots of photographs on holiday which will go into an album to provide a novel reference point to aid cognitive stimulation and discussion about the holiday as part of service users’ ongoing rehabilitation.