International Brain Injury Clubhouse Alliance Standards

Approved August 2022

The International Standards for Clubhouse programs, consensually agreed upon by the worldwide Clubhouse community, define the Clubhouse Model of rehabilitation. The principles expressed in these Standards are at the heart of the acquired brain injury Clubhouse community’s success in helping people with brain injury to achieve social, financial and vocational goals. The Standards also serve as a “bill of rights” for members and a code of ethics for staff, board and administrators. The Standards insist that a Clubhouse is a place that offers respect and opportunity to its members.

The Standards provide the basis for assessing Clubhouse quality, through the International Brain Injury Clubhouse Alliance (IBICA). Every two years the worldwide Clubhouse community reviews these Standards, and amends them as deemed necessary.


  1. Membership is voluntary and without time limits.
  2. The Clubhouse has control over its acceptance of new members. Membership and re-entry after any length of absence is open to any adult with a history of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), unless that person poses a significant and current threat to the general safety of the Clubhouse community.
  3. Members choose the way they utilize the Clubhouse, the members and staff they wish to engage with, and the activities they wish to engage in.
  4. All members have equal access to every Clubhouse opportunity.
  5. Members at their choice are involved in documentation that reflects their participation in the Clubhouse.
  6. Members have a right to immediate re-entry into the Clubhouse community after any length of absence, unless their return poses a significant and current threat to the Clubhouse community.
  7. The Clubhouse provides an effective outreach system to all members, particularly those who are becoming isolated in the community or ill.


  1. All Clubhouse meetings are open to both members and staff. There are no formal member only meetings or formal staff only meetings where program decisions are made.
  2. Clubhouse staff are sufficient to engage the membership, yet few enough to make carrying out their responsibilities impossible without member involvement
  3. Clubhouse staff have generalist roles. All staff share employment, housing, evening and weekend, holiday and unit responsibilities. Clubhouse staff do not divide their time between Clubhouse and other major work responsibilities that conflict with the unique nature of member/staff relationships.
  4. Responsibility for the operation of the Clubhouse lies with the members and staff and ultimately with the Clubhouse director. Central to this responsibility is the engagement of members and staff in all aspects of Clubhouse operation.


  1. The Clubhouse has its own identity, including its own name, mailing address and telephone number.
  2. The Clubhouse is located in its own physical space. It is separate from any other rehabilitation center or institutional settings and is impermeable to other programs. The Clubhouse is designed to facilitate the work-ordered day and at the same time be attractive, adequate in size, and convey a sense of respect and dignity.
  3. All Clubhouse space is member and staff accessible. There are no staff only or member only spaces.

Work-Ordered Day

  1. The work-ordered day engages members and staff together, side-by-side, in the running of the Clubhouse. The Clubhouse focuses on strengths, talents and abilities; therefore, the work-ordered day must not include day treatment or therapy programs within the Clubhouse.
  2. The work done inside the Clubhouse is exclusively the work generated by the Clubhouse in the operation and enhancement of the Clubhouse community. No paid work for outside individuals or agencies, is acceptable work inside the Clubhouse. Members are not paid for any Clubhouse work, nor are there any artificial reward systems.
  3. The Clubhouse is open at least five days a week. The work-ordered day parallels typical working hours.
  4. The Clubhouse is organized into one or more work units, each of which has sufficient staff, members and meaningful work to sustain a full and engaging work-ordered day. Unit meetings are held to foster relationships as well as to organize and plan the work of the day.
  5. All work in the Clubhouse is designed to help members regain self-worth, purpose and confidence; it is not intended to be job specific training.
  6. Members have the opportunity to participate in all the work of the Clubhouse, including administration, research, intake and orientation, outreach, hiring, training and evaluation of staff, public relations, advocacy and evaluation of Clubhouse effectiveness.


  1. The Clubhouse enables its members to access paid work through a variety of employment models that may include:  Supported, Customized, Transitional and Independent Employment. The Clubhouse assists and supports members to secure, sustain and subsequently, to better their employment in the community. Therefore, the Clubhouse does not provide employment to members through in-house businesses, segregated Clubhouse enterprises, or sheltered workshops.
  2. The desire to work is the single most important factor determining employment support.   Every member with a desire to work has access to employment preparation, placement, and job support.
  3. The Clubhouse supports members to secure volunteer positions and other means of productive activities in their community.
  4. Members who are working independently continue to have available Clubhouse supports and opportunities including advocacy for benefits, and assistance with housing, health and rehabilitative services, legal, financial and personal issues, as well as participation in evening and weekend programs.

Community Engagement

  1. The Clubhouse assists members to further their vocational and educational goals by helping them take advantage of adult education and job training opportunities in the community. When the Clubhouse provides in-house educational programs, it significantly utilizes the teaching and tutoring skills of members.
  2. The Clubhouse assists members in strengthening their support networks and encourages engagement of family members, care partners, and friends as requested by the member.
  3. The Clubhouse assists members to realize their goals of self-sufficiency, well-being, and community participation both in the Clubhouse and in their homes and communities.
  4. Community support services are provided by members and staff of the Clubhouse. Community support activities are centered in the work unit structure of the Clubhouse. They include helping with benefits, personal support, transportation, housing and advocacy, promoting healthy lifestyles as well as assistance in finding needed community resources.

Functions of the House

  1. The Clubhouse is located in an area where access to local transportation can be assured in terms of getting to and from the program and accessing employment opportunities in the community. The Clubhouse either provides or arranges for effective alternatives whenever access to public transportation is limited.
  2. The Clubhouse conducts an objective evaluation of its effectiveness on a regular basis.
  3. The Clubhouse has recreational and social programs outside of the work-ordered day hours.
  4. The Clubhouse is committed to ensuring safe, decent, and affordable housing for all members.
  5. The Clubhouse provides assistance, activities and opportunities designed to help members develop and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Funding, Governance & Administration

  1. The Clubhouse has an independent board of directors, or if it is affiliated with a sponsoring agency, has a separate advisory board comprised of individuals positioned to support and advocate for issues unique to the Clubhouse and ensure fidelity to the Clubhouse standards.
  2. The Clubhouse develops and maintains its own budget, approved by the board or advisory board prior to the beginning of the fiscal year and monitored routinely during the fiscal year.
  3. Staff salaries are competitive with comparable positions in the human services field.
  4. The Clubhouse has the support of appropriate authorities and all necessary licenses and accreditations. The Clubhouse collaborates with people and organizations that can increase its effectiveness in the broader community.
  5. The Clubhouse holds open forums and has procedures which enable members and staff to actively participate in decision making, generally by consensus, regarding governance, policy making, and the future direction and development of the Clubhouse.