By Alicia Rades
About 1.5 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury each year in the U.S. Oftentimes, it falls upon the family to take care of these people, putting emotional turmoil on everyone involved. If you’re caring for a loved one with brain damage, there are several things you need to know to help you get — and your loved ones – through it.
Continue reading to learn about caring for someone with brain damage.
Your Situation is Unique
There are a range of possibilities when it comes to traumatic brain injuries that no two situations are alike. For instance, there are several levels of brain injury severity including:
- Concussions (a mild TBI)
- Penetration brain injuries (such as from a bullet)
- Contusions (bleeding from blows to the head)
- Diffuse axonal injury (damage from torn brain tissue)
In addition to these types of injuries, victims may also enter varying levels of consciousness, including coma, a vegetative state, and a minimally conscious state. Furthermore, the area of the brain that suffered damage can vary greatly, impacting the victim’s ability to recover.
Knowing that your loved one’s situation is unique gives you more opportunity to listen to the doctors and your loved one, rather than relying on the stats to assess how well he or she will recover.
It’s Even More Difficult for Your Loved One
After suffering a serious brain injury, your loved one may not be able to do the same things he once could. He may become depressed and irritable, which makes it even more difficult for you. But however difficult it is to handle his new mood or change in behavior, it’s even more difficult for your loved one to live with his new disability.
Knowing that your loved one isn’t always able to control his mood, or that he’s having a harder time understanding things, can help you take better care of him. Never say things like, "How many times do I have to tell you?" or, "Why can’t you try harder?" This only makes the situation harder for him, so do your best to appreciate him without reminding him how difficult it is. Learn more about what you shouldn’t say to someone with a brain injury here.
There are a Variety of Doctors You can Turn To
Since not everyone’s brain injury is the same, each person may require turning to a different type of doctor. If one doctor isn’t making any progress, consider turning to someone else in a different field. Some examples of doctors who work with brain injuries include:
- Physiatrists: help victims improve skills with rehabilitation techniques.
- Neurologists: study and diagnose nervous tissue disorders.
- Occupational, physical, and speech therapists: help victims regain thinking, physical, and communication skills.
- Vocational rehabilitation experts: help victims regain job skills.
You Have Legal Rights
In cases where your loved one suffered a traumatic injury due to the negligence of another person, such as in a car accident or a fall at work, you may be eligible for compensation. When you take legal action, you could get enough money back to cover the medical bills, your loved one’s lost wages, and compensation for your family’s emotional turmoil.
While it doesn’t turn back the hands of time, it can help your family cope better through this trial. To get the best representation, look for law firms specializing in brain injury cases, such as the Herrera Law Firm in Texas.
There are Many Funding Options
Sometimes legal action doesn’t make sense, like if your loved one sustained an injury on his own property where no one else was at fault. However, there are still options for paying the medical expenses instead of having the costs come out of your own pocket. Some funding options include:
- Healthcare programs like Medicaid and Medicare.
- Community health agencies.
- Financial assistance programs like Social Security Disability Insurance.
- Disability policies your loved one may have had through work.
Caring for a loved one with a TBI is tough, but knowing these things and practicing patience can help you get through this difficult time.
Alicia Rades is a freelance blogger and writer. Learn more about her at aliciaradeswriter.com.