History of Brain Injury Clubhouses

What is an ABI Clubhouse

An ABI Clubhouse is a community center for people living with the effects of an acquired brain injury (ABI). The Clubhouse is based on a model that has been recognized for over 70 years. It offers a safe environment where people are treated with dignity and respect.

A Clubhouse focuses on abilities rather than disabilities, and capitalizes on these abilities for the combined good of all Members. Members of the Clubhouse are recognized for their contribution, no matter how big or small that contribution is. There are no ‘patients’ in the Clubhouse. Members work together to support each other in the pursuit of personal goals. In the process, people develop the skills and self-esteem needed to regain control of meaningful and productive lives. The Clubhouse encourages community re-entry, the rebuilding of social relationships and the training of skills required to return to productive activity.

The Clubhouse is divided into four main areas: Work Ordered Day, (which consists of Units such as Kitchen and Business), Employment, Education and Evening/Weekend activities. Members choose who they want to work with and how they want to utilize the Clubhouse. Staff is sufficient to engage the membership, yet few enough to make carrying out their responsibilities impossible without member involvement.

A set of 33 Clubhouse standards has been developed and endorsed by IBICA that govern the operation, services, and purpose of all ABI clubhouses.

History of International Brain Injury Clubhouse Alliance (IBICA)

  • In April, 2004 a group of ABI Clubhouses from four states and one from Canada met in Chicago to discuss how they could form an alliance to assist each other with the development of ABI Clubhouses around the world. At that time a mission statement, list serve, and regular annual meetings were established.
  • In 2005 we named our group the International Brain Injury Clubhouse Alliance (IBICA).
  • In 2008 we established our website (www.braininjuryclubhouses.net) and with assistance from the International Center for Clubhouse Development (ICCD), we created 33 standards that define what an ABI clubhouse is. Currently, there are 17 ABI member clubhouses who make up IBICA
  • Grant funding was secured from the Woodruff Foundation to establish this website and publish a national ABI clubhouse brochure.