ABI TRS at International Brain Injury Conference

Acquired Brain Injury Transitional Rehabilitation Service (ABI TRS) continues to add to the brain injury rehabilitation evidence base with research recently presented at the bi-annual conference of the International Brain Injury Association-14th World Congress on Brain Injury held in Dublin, Ireland.

Platform presentation by ABI TRS Clinical Lead, Dr Kerrin Watter, “Developing an evidence-based framework for early interdisciplinary vocational rehabilitation for adults with brain injury”, detailed the clinical-research service innovation in vocational rehabilitation developed and implemented in ABI TRS, in order to support for adults with moderate-severe ABI to return to work after injury. This research is the final outcome from a Hopkins Centre Seed Grant (2018-19).

Developing ways to address the vocational needs of adults with ABI (i.e., supporting return to work) is a clinically important area as globally, around only 40% of adults who survive brain injury return to work, resulting in long-term health, economic and social burdens for individuals, families and government. ABI TRS has demonstrated locally that increasing access to vocational rehabilitation to support return to work from early in recovery can improve long-term employment outcomes.

Poster presentation by ABI TRS Manager, Mrs Areti Kennedy, "Health system benefits of an integrated specialist Acquired brain injury transitional rehabilitation service” highlighted the work investigating the benefits of ABI TRS for the health system, providing value for money by improving patient health, wellbeing and productivity outcomes; reducing inpatient length of stay; increasing access to specialist ABI rehabilitation in Queensland; and releasing capacity across the rehabilitation continuum. 

The poster described service delivery outcome data from the ABI-TRS Pilot Project Evaluation, conducted 2017-2021.

Mrs Kennedy also presented a poster on behalf of her colleague, ABI TRS Research and Development Officer, Dr Mandy Nielsen, “Realising community re-integration following acquired brain injury: process and outcomes”, which itemised the significant improvements in community re-integration outcomes realised by ABI TRS clients up to 12 months following their rehabilitation program with the service. ABI TRS clients demonstrated significant, sustained improvements in three community re-integration areas: home integration, social integration and productive activity, which are all core goal domains for rehabilitation following an acquired brain injury.

All conference abstracts will also be published in the international journal, Brain Injury, which will further promote these local research and clinical practice innovations to an international audience.

The ABI-TRS is part of the statewide Brain Injury Rehabilitation Services (BIRS), within the Division of Rehabilitation at Princess Alexandra Hospital and is a new service that provides intensive home, community and centre-based rehabilitation for adults with moderate-severe brain injury. Prior to becoming a recurrently funded service in July 2022, ABI-TRS was evaluated as a ‘proof of concept’ 5-year pilot project as a novel transitional rehabilitation service model, an area with limited evidence-based service models.

The development of transitional rehabilitation services, such as the ABI TRS, and improving access to vocational rehabilitation are both components of the Queensland Health ‘Statewide adult brain injury rehabilitation health service plan 2016-2026’. The research recently presented also aligns with Queensland Advancing Health Research (2026) objectives, including translating research into better. 


View the posters here:

THC tile M Nielsen Poster

THC Tile Kerrin Watter Poster






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