Advocacy by and for People with ABI (Acquired Brain Injury)
Public Policy of the Brain Injury Network Policy Dated 6-13-11
The Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Network approved this position of public policy:
Abuse, Exploitation, Manipulation and Victimization of People with Brain Injury
We people with brain injuries bemoan the erosion of many of the rights every human being is entitled to such as our rights to live freely, independently and safely. Sometimes these losses are due to the circumstance of having sustained a brain injury, but all too often these losses are due to the unethical, exploitative actions of others. Many people with brain injuries are being abused, manipulated, victimized or taken advantage of in one way or another, or, indeed, in many ways. People with brain injuries make easy targets, especially those who, due to brain injury, now have cognitive challenges.
Just as there is elder abuse, there is what we call “Abuse of People with Acquired Brain Injury”. Many people with acquired brain injuries are taken advantage of by unethical persons who use deception and trickery to get the upper hand over trusting, desperate survivors of brain injury. Ineffective sham preparations and treatments are sold to survivors. We can ill afford to spend our few discretionary dollars on unproven products and treatments. Survivors are enticed to share confidential information online thus exposing us to crimes such as identity theft, bullying, harassment, and fraud. People with brain injuries are often sequestered in nursing homes with no daily enriching activity programming, no cognitive, physical, occupational therapy and, for those who are ambulatory, no access to the outside world, such as day trips. People with brain injuries are sometimes subjected to human research trials in which established human research guidelines are ignored by the researchers. Programs such as support groups, college clubs and vocational or work programs for people with brain injuries are sometimes set up without the safeguards and protocols necessary to appropriately protect the participants. Certain service providers put their own needs to operate a program on their own terms for their own financial or other benefit ahead of safety concerns, thus exposing people with brain injuries to unsafe programming. Sometimes people or agencies charged with oversight of brain injury programming ignore unsafe situations or fail to take corrective action when there is wrongdoing in their program.
People with brain injuries must be protected from dishonest, unethical, greedy people in this world. The more that can be done to shield us from wrongdoing the better. So, we are all for laws, regulations, standards and procedures that will help to protect our community.