TBI or traumatic brain injury is more common than most members of the public realize. Most cases are so mild that they may even go undiagnosed, but severe TBI has effects that range from mild to severe disability. It can be difficult to predict just how TBI will affect patients and their families, but it’s important that families are given some idea of what to expect along with a few coping tips to see them through.
1It’s Possible to Recover From TBI
When families hear that a loved one is suffering from severe traumatic brain injury, they may fear that the patient will always be disabled. That’s not necessarily the case. While raising false hopes is out of the question, families need to know that with proper rehabilitation, many TBI patients are able to live normal lives again.
2There are Ways to Soften the Financial Blow
Apart from direct medical and rehabilitation costs, families may face a situation in which a breadwinner is unable to work for a protracted period. Apart from state-sponsored help and claiming from insurance policies, there’s also the possibility of claiming damages if the traumatic brain injury was caused through a deliberate action or the negligence of a third party.
3Treatment Takes Time – Never Give Up
While some TBI sufferers can resume normal activities within a few weeks, some may need years to recover. However, there is no need to despair or give up on treatment. There are many instances of people whose TBI was so bad that they could no longer walk or talk. They had to learn how to do so all over again, but the important point is that they did learn, and although they may still exhibit some symptoms stemming from the injury, they are once again able to cope.
4Expect Behavioral Changes
Depending on the severity of the injury and the part of the brain it affects, behavioral changes can be expected. Regrettably, it may make family members feel as if they are dealing with a stranger, rather than the person they know and love. Counseling on how to deal with behavioral changes, and un understanding of their cause will help families that find themselves caring for a person with TBI.
5Families Will Need Help Dealing with Emotional Trauma
The injured family member is not the only person who will benefit from therapy. The families of people living with TBI often find themselves experiencing depression, grief, and anger. They need to understand that their reaction is normal and they should be advised to undergo counseling to help them process their reactions. Encourage them to join TBI support groups and carer support groups as well as advising them regarding the counselling and therapy that they themselves may need.
TBI Doesn’t Just Affect the Injured Person
As a healthcare professional, the families and caregivers of people with severe TBI will be looking to you for help and advice that goes beyond caring for the physical needs of your patient. Advice in these five areas will help them to cope better, and will improve the quality of care they are able to offer when their injured family-member returns to the family home. As such, addressing their concerns is almost as important as the medical care you provide for your patient as it will have far-reaching effects during the time when they take over the care of your patient.