History of the NLBIA
The history of the NLBIA goes back almost 30 years.
In November 1984, a committee for the brain injured was formed to advocate for the many brain injured people who were put in nursing homes and the Waterford Hospital in St. John’s NL. At that time, community supports were inadequate to deal with the complex array of neurological and psychiatric difficulties experienced by brain injury survivors. Discharge planning was relatively non-existent and there were no facilities for patients. Major service gaps continue even today. For example, long-term support for brain injury survivors, once they are discharged from the hospital and post acute programs (which often are not located in their home community) was identified as critical, and is still the area of greatest service deficiencies today.
This committee moved forward with their work and in 1987 created the Head Injury Association of Newfoundland as a non-profit organization operated by concerned families and health professionals. This was the first association in the province to advocate and support people with head injury. The association liaised with health professionals and health care managers, ran support groups and published regular newsletters.
In 1995, The Head injury Association voted to change its name to the Newfoundland Brain Injury Association to reflect their expanding role in serving people who had suffered other types of brain injury such as infection, stroke or tumour. The NBIA was affiliated with the Canadian Brain Injury Coalition. Some of the board members included Pat Murray, Pat Reid, Don Balsom, Keith Pike, Denise Butt, Bernard Carew and Bruce Simms. In 2003, “Labrador” was added to the association’s name and it became NLBIA.
The NLBIA began providing a weekly recreation group for survivors in 2005 and continued its advocacy, support and education efforts. Tom Lush, a parent of a person with a brain injury, was the president of NLBIA from 2004 to 2012 and brought about important changes to the NLBIA’s fundraising efforts which helped the NLBIA continue to honour its commitments to survivors and their families.
Some of the initiatives that have been undertaken by the NLBIA include:
- Survivors Support Group
- ABLE-Adults with Brain Injury Living Everyday weekly recreation group
- Brain Injury symposia and public lectures
- Reports to government and health boards on the health care gaps and needs among people with brain injury
- NLBIA website
- Summer BBQ, Christmas Social and other social networking among survivors and families
- Educational Information
- Wear a Helmet save a Brain Summer Campaign
- The Stephen Lush Annual Golf Tournament for NLBIA