East of England Care
Brainbow – a unique approach
The clinical psychologists we fund in the East of England work within a multi-disciplinary service at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge called Brainbow. This means multiple neuro-rehabilitation services are brought together to treat patients and their families through a single hospital service so they are not passed from one department to the next. This increases good communication within the team and means families can feel comfortable being treated in the same familiar setting and get to know the Brainbow staff. Set up in 2013, this is a truly unique and first-of-its-kind approach to the treatment of children with brain tumours.
As part of the Paediatric Oncology and Haematology Department at Addenbrooke’s, Brainbow aims to help children reach their full potential through specialist neuro-rehabilitation assessment and treatment. Brainbow provides continuity of care during this time – from diagnosis, during their hospital admission and beyond, including outpatient appointments.
Brainbow is funded through a partnership of three charities – Anna’s Hope, Tom’s Trust, and Joshua Tarrant Trust. Joshua Tarrant Trust recently replaced a founding charity, Camille’s Appeal. Together these charities fund and provide a unique rehabilitation service for children with brain tumours in East Anglia.
Tom’s Trust funds clinical psychologists. The clinical psychologists work closely with the other therapists in the team and are able to feed the correct information about the emotional and physical needs of the children to the other therapists, allowing maximum informed support and coordination.
Anna’s Hope funds physiotherapists, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists while Joshua Tarrant funds a project coordinator and a clinical lead.
How it works
Brainbow supports all children 16 and under in the East of England who have been diagnosed with a brain tumour. The aim of the service is to meet every child and family soon after their initial admission to Addenbrooke’s Hospital upon diagnosis of a brain tumour. Early assessment and intervention by our specialist clinical psychologists and the Brainbow team enables a ‘rehabilitation prescription’ to be drawn up, which sets clear goals. This gives the child the greatest opportunity for recovery and rehabilitation, ensuring that they are able to reach their full potential.
The service ensures clear communication between all the different professionals involved in the care of a child with a brain tumour, coordinating the transition process between the hospital and their community teams who may continue offering support once the child goes home. Each child will have a tailored approach depending on their individual needs. Parents and guardians are kept informed about every part of their child’s care.
Children who are being treated will receive psychological support from the day of diagnosis onwards, throughout treatment and after treatment, helping the child transition slowly back to their schools and lives. Their family members will also be given the help they need, whether in a group session or one-to-one, ensuring all the family are supported during this difficult time. In the case that a family tragically loses their child, the clinical psychologist will be on-hand to help.
Why Brainbow is different
Brainbow aims to improve the access to a more coordinated rehabilitation approach that can be tailored for all patients across the region. Currently access to vital rehabilitation services varies across the country and this inconsistency is thought to put more strain on a family than is necessary. The Brainbow service will contribute towards research on improving the future planning and provision of specialist care for children who have been treated for brain tumours. The service will also provide valuable evidence to support further work on the impact of neurorehabilitation on outcomes for children, an area of provision that is still in its infancy.