National Rehabilitation Strategy

In 2004-2005, over 22,000 Australians were hospitalized with an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). Most injuries – over two in every five – were caused by a fall, nearly one in three was due to a motor vehicle accident and one in six was caused by an assault. (source:

Many of these young people end up in nursing homes because the rehabilitation and community support they need to optimise recovery isn’t available. But nursing homes aren’t set up to support these young people with very different needs to older Australians nearing the end of their life. A vital element missing in aged care is the ability to access rehabilitation.

Without critically needed rehabilitation, these young people cannot recover and are condemned to a life of dependence.

The Young People In Nursing Homes Alliance is calling for:

  • development of a national rehabilitation strategy to help
  • young people with ABI recover their capacity and independence
  • those with neurological diseases like MS who need ongoing rehabilitation to maintain health and quality of life
  • proactive partnership and collaboration between state health and disability services to ensure the help these young people require is delivered when they need it.

Acquired Brain Injury

Over 22,000 Australians were hospitalized as a result of an Acquired Brain Injury in 2004-2005. Most of those Traumatic Brain Injuries – over two in every five – were caused by a fall, nearly one in three was due to a motor vehicle accident and one in six was caused by an assault. (

Every year, over a thousand young Australians sustain an acquired brain injury (ABI). Over 70% are under 30 years of age and most of these injuries are the result of motor vehicle accidents. More than half receive no compensation.

As well as motor vehicle accidents, other causes of ABI include stroke, hypoxia, near drownings, infections and traumas such as accidents in the home such as the one Molly Meldrum recently sustained, sports-related injuries and assault.

ABIs have wide-ranging effects on cognitive, physical, intellectual and emotional function.

Rehabilitation in Australia

” … The lifetime cost of new cases of brain and spinal cord injury occurring in 2008 alone is $10.5 billion in Australia … ”

Brain Injury Association of Tasmania

WorkCover and no fault motor vehicle schemes are the only ways in which long term funding to support recovery from an acquired brain injury can be accessed in Australia.

Only 3 states in Australia have no fault motor vehicle schemes. Two – Tasmania and NSW require the injury to happen within their state borders in cars registered in their respective states.

Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) is the only Australian scheme to cover people for injuries received outside its state borders in a Victorian registered car.

Lump sum compensation payments have a limited life and cannot provide the lifetime support most young people with catastrophic brain injuries require.

Those with ‘non compensable’ injuries are thus unable to access the slow stream rehabilitation and other supports needed to give them the best chance of recovering from their injuries.

Brain injury effects everyone differently and although every outcome will be different, rehabilitation delivered in a timey manner is critical in achieving the best possible recovery.

To find out more about brain injury and rehabilitation, contact your state brain injury association.