caring for a loved one with traumatic brain injury

Caring for a Loved One with TBI

Simply put, a traumatic brain injury or TBI is a change in the normal functioning of the brain due to an external force. The force may have occurred in an auto accident, a fall at work, or as the result of an attack or a blast. Essentially, any external force that causes the head to strike an object can lead to a TBI.

There can be several immediate results:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of memory
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Neurological changes such as weakness, loss of balance, an inability to articulate, either speaking or writing.
  • Alterations in the mental state including confusion, slowed thinking, and disorientation

It is one of the worst injuries you or a loved one can suffer and it generally means there will be a long recovery with no guarantees the person will ever return to who they once were.

Traumatic Brain Injury

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBI is a major cause of death and disability in the U.S.

In 2014, there was an average of 155 deaths every day from injuries that included a TBI. 

In 2014 there were also 2.87 million ER visits, hospitalizations and deaths due to TBI. That includes 837,000 children.

Those who survive a TBI may expect to experience the effects for anywhere from a few days to the rest of their lives.


Caring for Your Loved One with a TBI

As a caretaker, you no doubt will feel overwhelmed at the prospect of the new normal for this family member. In the hospital, the injured may not even remember what led to his injury, which can be a form of relief.

You may find that he/she has problems thinking, difficulty speaking, concentrating, and problem solving. Physical problems may include a loss of strength and coordination.  Movement and swallowing may be a challenge.

A traumatic brain injury may impact one’s senses such as the ability to smell, see, hear or even feel touch.

Emotionally, you may find your loved one experiences mood changes and exhibits tendencies such as impulsivity and irritability.
 

What can you do? As a caretaker, you might want to reduce stimulation in the room.  Family and friends should limit visits and make them short. Do not overwhelm the injured with emotion as he/she may not be able to process all of the stimuli. Use short sentences when communicating with the TBI victim.

Patient rehabilitation will involve physical therapy, occupational, and speech therapy. Expect the patient to receive at least 3 hours of therapy a day with breaks in between for 5-7 days a week.

A recreational therapist will work on finding new recreational activity that is part of recovery.

Community Resources for TBI

For the individual caretaker, a social worker will focus on making a transition easier to return to your community by accessing community resources. He/she will help you determine eligibility for Medicaid and Social Security support.

Besides accessing community resources, a legal guardian and/or professional case manager may be placed to advocate with the community services and hospital and insurance companies.

As a caretaker, you will need ongoing supportive counseling to help you adjust to your new circumstances as will the brain-injured patient.

You may need also to adjust to the fact that though the injured person can still function in the world, he/she may never return to the person they once were.

A Compassionate Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

We understand that this is not the time for judgment but to seek compensation from the at-fault party. The additional stress of an injured breadwinner makes our job that more urgent.

You may also hear from lawyers representing the at-fault party. We strongly suggest you do not communicate with the insurer for the other side, because they do not have your best interests at heart.

The attorneys at Mann & Potter will want to begin the conversation about your personal injury needs, so we can obtain the maximum compensation for both economic and non-economic damages to help you with the road ahead.

We are here to provide you with the legal guidance and personal support you need at this difficult time. Please call our Birmingham office at 205-627-3186 so you can schedule a complimentary consultation with a member of our legal team.

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