Statistics from the Ontario Brain Injury Association reveal that forty-four individuals in the province of Ontario sustain a brain injury per day and that of these, 12% – 15% will require life long support. Organization For the Multi Disabled (Thunder Bay) Inc. was formed in 1983 in response to the gap that existed in services for individuals requiring rehabilitation and /or life long support services. BISNO (Brain Injury Services of Northern Ontario) was incorporated in 1996 to specifically focus on programs and services.
In 1991 the organization was successful in obtaining funding for the establishment of the Transitional Learning Centre from the Ministry of Community and Social Services, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Northern Mines and Development. Following the launch of this residential rehabilitation program, funding from the Long Term Care Division of the Ministry of Health resulted in the development of Community Rehabilitation and Outreach Services in 1992. As well, in response to the expressed needs of survivors living in district communities for education, support and rehabilitation services, the Kenora/Rainy River Outreach Program was also initiated with funding from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
Soon after, the organization has expanded its range of services to include the provision of Case Management Services for individuals with access to third party funding, long term support services via the Supportive Housing Program (1996, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care); and the provision of an adaptable service via the Variable Support Services Program (2000, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care) intended to meet the unique, diverse and changing needs of survivors with access to third party funding.
Services provided in all programs are based on the individual’s priorities and goals for rehabilitation and/or support services. The organization collaborates with and fosters the involvement of other service providers as well as family members and significant others on the interdisciplinary team. In order to promote independence and assist in the community re-entry process, the organization refrains from duplicating services, instead, facilitates whenever possible the use of existing community based services.
In 2006, BISNO amalgamated its Supportive Housing and Rehabilitation Programs to Residential Services. Our community and district programs also amalgamated as Community Services. This offers BISNO the opportunity to provide enhanced services through increased flexibility to meet the rehabilitation needs and goals of individuals.