Fifth Sense calls for support for the Acquired Brain Injury strategy: An opportunity to share your views
I am very pleased that the government has taken the important first step to develop a strategy for Acquired Brain Injury, one of the common causes of the loss of smell and taste. Fifth Sense wants to ensure that the needs of people affected by smell and taste impairment following brain injury are represented and recognised as part of this important initiative. The launch of a Call for Evidence is an excellent opportunity to highlight the impact that smell and taste impairment can have on our quality of life, safety and wellbeing along with the need for greater recognition and support amongst government bodies. I encourage all Fifth Sense members affected by brain injury and other neurological conditions to join me in participating in this Call and sharing your perspectives.
The government announced plans to develop a cross-departmental strategy on acquired brain injury in December 2021 led by senior MPs Gillian Keegan and Chris Bryant. The Call for Evidence is an opportunity for stakeholders including healthcare professionals, people living with an acquired brain injury and their families and carers to put forward their views about what should be prioritised within the strategy.
These priorities could include guidance on action to prevent Acquired Brain Injury, on the identification of adults and children with ABI, on the assessment of their needs, including smell and taste impairment, and on the planning of relevant services. The Call for Evidence is also asking for feedback on whether there are other related neurological conditions which should be considered for inclusion. We know many people have found it difficult to get an early, accurate diagnosis while others find that care and understanding needs to be greatly improved.
That is why this initiative is important to me personally. I lost my sense of smell following a traumatic brain injury in 2005, aged 22. After spending a week in hospital I was discharged with what amounted to a pat on the back and a box of paracetamol. When I went to see my GP to say that I had lost my sense of smell, I was bluntly told that this was very rare, nothing could be done and if it didn’t come back of its own accord I would ‘just had to live with it’.
It was this lack of information and support that was a catalyst for me establishing Fifth Sense years later. I have met many people since then who lost their smell and/or taste following brain injury and have experienced the same shrug and lack of support.
We deserve so much better. Please take the time to share your views as part of the Call to Evidence on the government website.
Thank you for supporting this important initiative.
Duncan Boak, Chief Executive and founder