Did you know that approximately 10,000 Mainers sustain an acquired or traumatic brain injury every year? Acquired brain injuries include events like strokes, brain tumors or prolonged loss of consciousness. Traumatic brain injuries, on the other hand, result from things like car accidents, falls, and sports injuries. Sometimes brain injuries may even go undiagnosed for a period of time due to other health issues a person may be facing. When you have a brain injury, it can be difficult for you and your loved ones to know where to turn.
Disability Rights Maine (DRM) helps Mainers with brain injury in a number of ways. Our attorneys and advocates assist clients with accessing resources they need, including helping them navigate employment and housing issues, seeking reasonable accommodations, challenging guardianships where appropriate, ensuring that individual rights are protected. We connect with caregivers, providers, and support groups around the state to educate them on how to manage a brain injury and how to get support to make the best recovery possible.
DRM serves on the Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council of Maine (ABIAC), a group made up of survivors, caregivers, advocates, providers and government representatives. The ABIAC works to identify issues of concern for the brain injury community and recommends state action where necessary to improve the lives of Mainers with brain injury. We also collaborate with other organizations, such as the Brain Injury Association of America’s Maine Chapter (BIAA-ME), to increase brain injury awareness and make sure you have access to the information you need. Neuro Resource Facilitators at BIAA-ME are a great source of information you need to help yourself or a loved one access services.
Brain injured individuals may qualify for the Section 18 Brain Injury Waiver. The waiver is for adults who are eligible to live in a long-term care facility or nursing home but choose to remain in the community with supports. The waiver is intended to empower Mainers with brain injury to have a voice in directing their own care, including choosing what services they want and who provides them. The goal is for them to be as self-sufficient as possible with the greatest independence and community engagement possible.
March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. This presents a great opportunity to learn more about the resources available in our state and the opportunities for growth and support. There are webinars and other events, which may be found on the BIAA-ME website. Getting involved in the local brain injury community is a good way to connect with other survivors and get information and support.
It is possible to live a fulfilling life as a brain injury survivor. If you or a loved one is facing this challenge, please do not hesitate to reach out to us and to the BIAA so that we can help you navigate the situation and achieve your recovery and future goals.
 This data is derived from the Maine Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Council’s 2021 Report to the state legislature, which may be found here. https://legislature.maine.gov/doc/4876#:~:text=It%20is%20estimated%20that%2010%2C000%20Mainers%20experience%20a%20brain%20injury%20every%20year.
 Please visit the BIAA Maine Chapter site for more information at https://www.biausa.org/find-bia/maine.
 To learn more about the waiver, you can visit https://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/get-support/adults-with-brain-injury.
 For more information on Brain Injury Awareness Month, visit https://www.biausa.org/public-affairs/media/policy-corner-02-11-2022.
 A great place to start is the BIAA-ME Frequently Asked Questions page, https://www.biausa.org/brain-injury/about-brain-injury/faqs.