Coping with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
A Traumatic Brain Injury can have a devastating effect on an individual and their family. The affected parties must be able to, at some point, move beyond the shock and grief, and learn how to begin coping with the new and altered reality of their everyday lives.
Depending on the severity of the TBI, dramatic changes in the daily structure of living may be required. The affected individual may not be able to remember certain things, will not be able to handle certain chores and responsibilities within the family that they used to handle, and may quite possibly require around the clock care, a caregiver within the home, or may even have to reside in a long-term facility specializing in treatment of TBI patients.
Unlike a broken bone or a routine surgery, the ordeal is not over when the medical procedure is over and the wound has healed. If the Traumatic Brain Injury is severe, the family and loved ones are just beginning to face some of their toughest times after immediate care has been completed. A typical TBI patient will have to go through acute care, then an inpatient rehabilitation program, and then - if stable enough, may be discharged to their home environment.
However, many times in more severe cases, TBI patients don't get to return home. They perhaps are not stable enough either mentally or physically and will never recover a degree of functional capacity that would allow them to return to an independent living situation, and many such patients have no one to take care of them full time. Often the family members involved (children, spouses) are torn between being able to live their own lives, maintain their employment, and attend to other family members as well, and are not able to step into the role of full-time caregiver that may be a necessity.
The reduced physical capacity of the patient and limited scope of mobility is only one of the factors a TBI patient must contend with. A Traumatic Brain Injury, by its nature, causes the patient to experience a wide range of emotions, from severe depression to extreme rage. Depression and anxiety are very common with Traumatic Brain Injury. This can last for months or even years after the original injury. The depression goes beyond normal feelings of sadness. According to effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov, 3 out of every 10 people who have a brain injury experience depression. For more information, read their publication entitled Depression After Brain Injury - A Guide for Patients and Their Caregivers.
The family of a person who has sustained a severe traumatic brain injury must accept the fact that life will never be the same with their family member. Depending on the severity of the injury, they may not be able to perform even the most mundane activities that we all do in the blink of an eye every day and never think twice about, such as opening the refrigerator or making a sandwich. They may have no memory of significant life events. You may feel that they don't know you anymore, and that you don't know them anymore either.
Though there is no quick fix for the situation, listed below are some suggestions from the Mayo Clinic for coping with the situation as best as possible:
- Join a support group - your doctor or rehabilitation therapist is sure to have some information and suggestions for you about support groups in your area dealing specifically with TBI patients and family members.
- Write things down - There may be things that are hard for you to remember now that you didn't have a problem with in the past. It's helpful to keep a list with you at all times of these items, whether it's names of specific people, weekly events, or a daily schedule.
- Follow a routine - Keeping a consistent schedule on a daily basis will make it easier for you after several weeks of doing the same things at the same time every day. Also begin to keep items in designated places, and follow the same routes when you are traveling to and from frequently visited places.
- Take frequent breaks - Make arrangements ahead of time with your work or school, if applicable, so that you will be able to take frequent breaks when needed.
- Alter your work expectations or tasks - You may have to make changes to tasks that you perform, such as having things read to you that you were able to read before by yourself, or being given more time to complete assignments than previously, or having things broken down into smaller steps. Everyone is different, so find what applies to you.
- Avoid distractions - You may find that you are more sensitive to light and noise than you were before, so minimize these where possible. A loud radio or television, for example.
- Stay focused - work on just one task at a time. Everyone could benefit from practicing this. Easier said than done, but you get better at it as you practice it.
- And last - be gentle and patient with yourself. Don't expect too much too soon, and give yourself the time and the support that you need to heal.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury as the result of someone else's negligence, call us for help. We will talk to you and review your case for free. The Tyrone Law Firm specializes in representing those who have suffered a devastating injury, such as traumatic brain injury resulting from the negligence of another. We will present your case to the jury in terms of the human story - the total impact on you and your family, and the story of what your family has lost as a direct result of the injury. It is this presentation of the client's story to the jury that compels them to bring back a verdict for significant money damages on your behalf.
Nelson Tyrone handles Traumatic Brain Injury, Spine Injury and RSD/CRPS cases throughout the United States. He recently obtained the largest medical malpractice verdict in the history of Gwinnett County in a birth injury TBI case. He involves only the top medical, rehabilitation and life-care plan experts in the field. His results on behalf of clients include several of the largest settlements and verdicts on record.
You can reach us at 404-377-0017 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If we can't help you, we will do our best to put you into the hands of lawyers who can.