A new app which could help save the lives of those with brain injuries has been launched at Stormont by Health Minister Jim Wells.
Each year more than 2,000 people in Northern Ireland sustain a brain injury, while many more live with the long term effects.
As part of last year’s Action for Brain Injury Week, the Acquired Brain Injury Working Group– a partnership forum comprising representatives from the Cedar Foundation, Child Brain Injury Trust, Headway UK and Reconnect, supported by the Health and Social Care Board and Public Health Agency, designed and launched a ‘Know the Risks’ information card regarding mild brain injury.
The Group wanted to make the information as widely accessible as possible so teamed up with Belfast-based tech firm TotalMobile, which provides innovative software solutions to revolutionise the way frontline healthcare staff work.
TotalMobile, working with experts from the health and voluntary sector, came up with the initial idea for the ‘Know the RISKS’ app during a 12 hour hack event and the final product is now available to download for free.
The resource is intended to help anyone in need, quickly listing the signs and symptoms of mild brain injury and clearly outlining the actions needed to respond to them to result in the best outcomes for the injured person.
The app is available for ios, windows and android devices and it is planned that it will shortly include a location based feature outlining the nearest emergency services in the case of serious brain injury.
Gareth Tolerton, Chief Technical Officer of TotalMobile, said: “The ‘Know the RISKS’ app is the outcome of our first ‘Code for Better’ hack where those interested in software development came together at TotalMobile to create a resource that informs you what to do in the case of a mild brain injury.
“With 7 in 10 people in the UK owning a smart phone there was a clear opportunity to create a simple app where the public can easily access information.
“Action for Brain Injury is a great cause and we are pleased to be able to use our skills in the mobile technology sector to help the organisation create this resource which we hope will make a real difference to those who suffer brain injuries.
“Improving the provision of support and care for healthcare needs innovative thinking and novel solutions and the app is a really positive example of what can be achieved when businesses work closely with the voluntary, community and public sectors.”
Angela Thompson, Executive Director of Reconnect, said: ‘Most people with a mild brain injury recover fully, but it can take time. Some symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer.
“However, as it is an evolving injury, symptoms may take time to manifest so it is vital that people are as well informed as possible about signs, symptoms and when to seek further medical attention.
“The ‘Know the RISKS’ app means that this information can now reach the widest possible audience with the potential to help save someone’s life.”
Health Minister Jim Wells said: “Brain injury can have a devastating and lifelong impact on a person and their friends and family. Broken bones mend, scars heal and illnesses can be cured, but brain injury can remain with a person for life. It has an impact on everything they do, and while for some this might be just a small impact, for others it can change the way they live their lives dramatically.
“This innovative application will undoubtedly help people who have suffered a brain injury by not only signposting them towards taking appropriate action but by keeping them up-to-date with the latest information and resources available.
“I would like to commend those who contributed to the development of this impressive piece of work which has the potential to help save lives.”