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The Saskatchewan Association for the Rehabilitation of the Brain-Injured (SARBI) officially began providing services in January 1991. The impetus came from the Alberta (Calgary)-based group, the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Brain Injured (ARBI). Milestones included: equipment donations from Frank Eliason and The Sanitarium (April 1987), the establishment of a board (July 1988), a donation of $2, 500.00 from the Knights of Columbus and a significant donation from the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association, and the hiring of staff (November 1990).

A volunteer board of health professional, family members and community-minded individuals oversees SARBI's program. Under the guidance of the board, SARBI recruits volunteers and co-ordinates each client's program, as indicated by consultative occupational and physical therapists. The sole focus of SARBI is to increase the physical independence of persons who have incurred an acquired-brain injury. Within the rehabilitation climate, most of these clients would be deemed to have limited potential. However, with a volunteer-based program, physical improvement has occurred with this population with limited costs.

Each client requires a physician's referral to the program. Once the board and staff have indicated that the client can benefit from, and is a suitable candidate for the program, the client is assessed and programming begins. Currently our occupational therapy services are provided by a therapist from the ABI Outreach Team, while physical therapy services are contracted privately and supported by time donated by Star Rehab, Daniel Kimbers' Physical Therapy Clinic and Sherbrooke Community Center. The program to be followed is videotaped in order that the volunteer corps maintains the quality of service. Videotaping also allows for demonstrable improvements. Currently SARBI offers services to 18 active clients.

A program evaluation was completed in the fall of 1995. This evaluation was distributed to all clients and their families who accessed SARBI's services and to all volunteers, both past and present. The evaluation demonstrated the need for the board to change the co-ordinator as the focus of the program had become primarily for social purposes. Two new part-time staff were hired which facilitated an improved volunteer recruitment process as well as re-affirming the mandate of a physically based service for our clients. In addition, the program evaluation confirmed the role that SARBI has played in the critical need for respite services within the families and for the caregivers.

The primary funding source was originally from the Saskatchewan Government Insurance, public relations branch with generous donations from the Saskatoon Foundation, Our Lady of the Prairie Foundation, the Leier Family Foundation. Presently, SARBI's source of funding is from the ABI Initiative (Saskatchewan Government Insurance/Saskatchewan Health Initiative).