Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP)

The Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP) is one of the programs of MRC’s Community Based Services

Who is eligible for services?

Any resident of Massachusetts, regardless of age and income, who has medical records or other similar documentation confirming an externally caused traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be eligible for SHIP services. In addition to having a documented TBI, the individual must have significant impairments of behavioral, cognitive, and/or physical functioning resulting primarily from the externally caused TBI and the individual must be able to demonstrate their ability and willingness to participate in community based services.

How do I apply?

Anyone may request an application or make a referral for an individual by contacting SHIP using the contact information below. SHIP will then send a letter, a SHIP application and release of information forms to the individual or court appointed guardian. The application is several pages long; you may want to ask family, friends or SHIP staff for assistance.

The eligibility and determination process begins with the submission of a signed application and signed release forms. SHIP will then collect medical and related records that specially document the occurrence of a TBI and/or treatment of a head injury at the time the TBI reportedly occurred. Once all necessary records are received the SHIP neuropsychology consultant will conduct a comprehensive review of the documentation received by SHIP.  If eligibility cannot be determined through documentation received, SHIP may require the completion of a functional status assessment and/or a neuropsychological assessment and/or an in person interview with the applicant.

Once a decision has been made the applicant/guardian will be notified in writing of the eligibility or ineligibility decision. An ineligibility determination maybe appealed through the appeal procedure set forth 107CMR12.09  See 107 CMR 12.00: Statewide Head Injury Program

Obtain information by calling (617) 204-3852 or toll-free (in Massachusetts only) 1-800-223-2559. TTY: (617) 204-3817. Or send an e-mail to

  Statewide Head Injury Program Application  pdf format of Statewide Head Injury Program Application

Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP) Services

SHIP offers an array of services that are designed to assist individual’s maintain or increase their level of independence at home, work and in their community. SHIP services are available based on available funding. SHIP Services include:

Service Coordination 

Based on an individuals assessed needs, assistance is provided in identifying appropriate cost-effective services and supports, developing a service plan, and assisting individuals with accessing and coordinating community supports and services. 

In-Home Supports

Provide the support and/or supervision necessary for individuals with brain injury to participate fully and meaningfully in and contribute to their communities as valued members. This service assist and supports the individual and my include teaching and fostering the acquisition, retention or improvement of skills related to personal finance, health, household management, use of community resources, community safety, and other social and adaptive skills to live in the community. It may include training and education in self-determination, self-advocacy to enable the individual to acquire skills to exercise control over the services and supports they receive to become more independent, integrated and productive in their community.

Residential Services

Provided in a home setting with other individuals. Supervision and support is provided around the clock. Availability is based on assessed need, and may be limited due to funding.

Shared Living

A 24/7 residential model of supports provided in an identified caregiver’s home.

Regional Multiservice Centers

These centers provide support and opportunities for individuals with BI to enrich their lives, develop personal skills and competencies, and participate in their community. Specifically these centers address the development of individual living skills, cognitive strategies, computer skills, money management, household management, employment related skills, socialization, health and wellness, and recreation and leisure planning. Centers also provides service coordination, advocacy and family support services. The Southeastern Center (Raynham) also has an affiliated Day Treatment and Rehabilitation Center offering speech and language assessments, educational groups, cognitive exercises, community based group activities ,computer technology aides,  as well as stress management and relaxation therapy.

Community Center

The Brain Injury Community Center (BICC) is located in Worcester and is designed to serve adults (22+) who have been impacted by an acquired or traumatic brain injury. The Center’s services are individualized and member-driven. The BICC provides members with a variety of supports that increase community integration through natural supports, building interpersonal relationships, and utilizing resources so members become more self-sufficient through education, employment and self-advocacy.

  • Members are part of a community who participate in all essential program functions and operations. Empowering members to fully achieve their maximum level of independence, self-worth and dignity are vital components and overall goals of the BICC.
Day Services

Provides a structured day activity for individuals not ready to join the general workforce. Day services are individually designed around consumer choice and preference with a focus on improvement or maintenance of the person’s skills and ability to live as independently as possible in the community.

Family Assistance Program

This is a one-time service that addresses the needs of the families and significant others who are living with individuals with traumatic brain injury. Family assistance is provided by SHIP's clinical consultant in the home, in a clinician's office, or at a community site where individuals with traumatic brain injury and their family/significant other may be receiving services. The services provided through SHIP's Family Assistance Program may include:

  • Development, implementation, and monitoring of in-home strategies which address changes often resulting from TBI.
  • Assistance in identifying clinical needs and accessing appropriate clinical services.
Supported Employment

Consists of intensive, ongoing supports to enable participants to take part in competitive, community-based employment.  Supports are necessary to assist the individual work in a regular work setting. Supported employment may include assisting the participant to locate a job, as well as providing on the job training, facilitating accommodations, and engaging the employer in regular ongoing communication for optimal work performance.

Affiliated Substance Abuse Services

Limited financial support maybe provided through SHIP for various models of specialized residential substance abuse rehabilitation supports to adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI) recovering from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.   The overall goal of these SHIP affiliated residential services is to provide individuals with a structured and comprehensive rehabilitative environment that supports their recovery from alcohol and/or other drug abuse and encourages movement toward an independent lifestyle.  Aftercare planning is done through referral networks; the intended end result is for the individual to obtain supervised opportunities for drug- and alcohol-free living in group residences and independent situations.  Additionally, aftercare planning will include linking consumers with ongoing services such as primary health care, mental health care and case management.  Identifying the consumer’s ongoing needs, as well as relevant resources is vital to support continuing recovery. SHIP staff are also available to provide consultation regarding other substance abuse programs or related professionals working with individuals with brain injury.

Assistive Technology 

Assistive devices have become important tools in the enhancement of an individual's personal, home and professional life. Technological developments have moved at such an accelerated rate it is challenging to remain knowledgeable about the current technological resources on the market.  Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP), in support of the needs of consumers for the most up-to-date and appropriate assistive devices and adaptations, maintains current information on resource agencies, manufacturers and individuals involved in the field of assistive technology.

SHIP assists individuals in obtaining  equipment and adaptive devices  such as medication dispensers, reach extenders, electronic day timers, communication support devices, grab bars and shower chairs, etc.  Funding resources have helped in the creation of home and environmental modifications by the purchase of ramps and lifts, as well as, door modifications and access devices. SHIP is able to work with a consumer to locate the appropriate resources to meet his or her needs.

Many assistive devices and adaptations can be accessed through various government and private agencies. Some are paid for through insurance or through federal and state funding. Other devices and adaptations require partial or full payment by the consumer. In some cases, SHIP is able to share the cost with eligible consumers when other funding is not available, or to arrange for borrowing an item of interest for a trial run.

Respite Services

Respite service are available to eligible individuals, family members, or care givers. Respite services can provide SHIP consumers or their family/caregivers with an opportunity for rest and relaxation or the opportunity to attend to their own personal needs. Respite services are provided in the home for limited periods of time. This service can be requested by the SHIP consumer, family members or other primary caregivers. To qualify for respite services, the consumer must have already been determined eligible for SHIP services and must be living with a primary caregiver(s) at home. The SHIP consumer must be medically stable and pose no risk to self or others in community settings. Respite services are not available to SHIP consumers who live in residential programs, hospitals and/or long-term treatment programs. The consumer and/or the family are responsible for the consumer's personal funds and personal needs during respite activities.


Resources for Providers

MRC Provider Services Standards  pdf format of mrc-provider-service-standards-final-april 2013.pdf
rtf format of                             mrc-provider-service-standards-final-april-2013.rtf                file size 1MB

MRC Practices, Policies and Procedures  pdf format of MRC Practices, Policies and Procedures
file size 1MB docx format of                             MRC Practices, Policies and Procedures





This information is provided by the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission