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Acquired Brain Injury, Social Work and the Challenges of Personalisation

Holloway, Mark; Fyson, Rachel

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Mark Holloway

Professor of Social Work


© 2015 The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved. Increasing numbers of adults in the UK are living with acquired brain injury (ABI), with those affected requiring immediate medical care and longer-term rehabilitative and social care. Despite their social needs, limited attention has been paid to people with ABI within the social work literature and their needs are also often overlooked in policy and guidance. As a means of highlighting the challenge that ABI presents to statutory social work, this paper will start by outlining the common characteristics of ABI and consider the (limited) relevant policy guidance. The particular difficulties of reconciling the needs of people with ABI with the prevailing orthodoxies of personalisation will then be explored, with a particular focus on the mismatch between systems which rest on presumptions autonomy and the circumstances of individuals with ABI - typified by executive dysfunction and lack of insight into their own condition. Composite case studies, drawn from the first author's experiences as a case manager for individuals with ABI, will be used to illustrate the arguments being made. The paper will conclude by considering the knowledge and skills which social workers need in order to better support people with ABI.


Holloway, M., & Fyson, R. (2016). Acquired Brain Injury, Social Work and the Challenges of Personalisation. British Journal of Social Work, 46(5), 1301-1317.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 1, 2015
Online Publication Date Apr 23, 2015
Publication Date Jul 1, 2016
Deposit Date Mar 23, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 23, 2016
Journal British Journal of Social Work
Print ISSN 0045-3102
Electronic ISSN 1468-263X
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 46
Issue 5
Pages 1301-1317
Keywords Acquired brain injury, social work, personalisation, executive dysfunction, autonomy
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in British Journal of Social Work following peer review. The version of record Holloway, Mark, Fyson, Rachel, Acquired brain injury, social work and the challenges of personalisation is available online at:


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