Helping a Family Member After a Brain Injury
After any motorcycle or car accident, a closed head injury is a significant issue. Even minor brain injuries may have important psychological, physical, and cognitive implications.
In the hours and days after a head injury, it’s critical to recognize probable signs of a brain injury. Because of the cognitive deficits induced by a traumatic brain injury, these symptoms may go unnoticed by the wounded individual.
Those close to an accident victim should be aware of the signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. Here’s a list of the most prevalent signs and symptoms.
- Nausea or vomiting
- Vertigo or balance issues
- Loss of inhibition or understanding of society standards
- Poor concentration
- Mood Swings
In Person | Phone | Zoom
How to Help a Loved One with a Brain Injury
It’s critical to keep an eye out for these signs, as well as any other evident changes in your loved one’s behavior if you want to catch brain damage early. Early identification is critical for a person suffering from a TBI to recover rapidly and avoid long-term consequences such as post-concussion syndrome (See here for the Mayo Clinic definition of PCS).
If someone close to you has suffered a traumatic brain injury, you must make sure that they keep their activities to a minimum to prevent further heart damage. Any further brain damage to a person who has had an initial closed head injury is exceedingly risky.
The phrase “second-impact syndrome” refers to a circumstance in which a person who is still suffering from the effects of a previous head injury experiences another. Even though the head injury seems minor, the second blow to an already injured brain might be fatal.
Changes in the wounded victim’s personality and the burden that loss of physical/cognitive function places on important others may have a substantial impact on relationships. A healthy and young person might be rendered entirely incapable overnight, leaving the victim’s relatives to care for him or her. Even in situations with significant brain injury, recovery is typically feasible.
Communication is essential for ensuring your loved one’s safety and receiving adequate treatment after an accident. Ask open-ended questions that require the individual to access their memories, and remember the list of symptoms. If you suspect a loved one has suffered a TBI, bring them to a trained medical practitioner as soon as possible to begin treatment and manage the symptoms.
Once therapy starts, it’s important to note that personality changes in your loved one aren’t necessarily permanent. If you exercise patience and communicate simply and deliberately, the tension in your relationship will reduce with time.
Try to be patient with the individual who has had a TBI and communicates your views as clearly and simply as possible. Slowly speak and keep distractions to a minimum. Maintain a cheerful and calm demeanor while conversing with your loved ones to keep them encouraged about their development.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BRAIN INJURIES
TBI stands for traumatic brain injury, and it is exactly what it sounds like. It’s any damage to the brain that causes a blow to it, whether it’s only a bump or a puncture. A fall, an act of targeted aggression, or an accident may result in this kind of damage. A TBI may occur in any event in which your head collides with anything or is struck or penetrated by something.
The severity of the damage itself will determine the intensity of the brain injury’s symptoms. Depending on how hard the head was hit, the outcome of a traumatic brain injury might be minor, moderate, or severe. It’s important to remember that serious brain damage may not result in any visible injuries.
Temporary symptoms are more common in mild and moderate injuries, but long-term or permanent effects are more common in severe injuries. A moderate concussion caused by walking into a pole, for example, is unlikely to have long-term consequences. A bullet that enters the victim’s skull, on the other hand, might have a significant impact on the victim’s life.
People who have suffered traumatic brain injuries may have a variety of symptoms that may prompt them to seek medical attention, including:
- Loss of awareness
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
- Slurred speech
- Dilated pupils
- Intractable headache
- Vomiting or nausea
A coma, vegetative state, or brain death may occur in the most difficult situations. Regardless of the severity of the damage, the wounded person’s life will almost certainly alter, sometimes dramatically, depending on the kind of brain injury and the resulting disability.
THE SYMPTOMS OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF BRAIN INJURIES
TBIs are generally classified into three categories:
Closed head injury: An injury to the head that does not result in a visible or open wound. Open wound: An injury in which the brain is exposed to penetration due to a visible wound.
Crushing brain damage: It is known as a crushing brain injury when the brain is crushed between two objects.
The most frequent traumatic brain injuries are closed head injuries. However, the severity of the damage is not always obvious in the early symptoms. Someone who has had a slight concussion, for example, may lose consciousness yet recover completely. A person who has had a more serious injury, on the other hand, may have no symptoms at all in the early aftermath of the accident.
If you’ve been hit in the head, you should visit a doctor right away. Doctors can identify which group
the injury belongs to and what efforts should minimize long-term consequences.
HEAD INJURIES WITH A CLOSED HEAD
Even though a closed head injury does not open the head and is the most frequent form of damage (closed head injuries account for 75% of all brain injuries), it may nonetheless be serious. Because there is no apparent wound and symptoms are not usually immediate, it may be difficult to recognize this sort of damage.
The following are some examples of closed head injuries:
Concussions are usually very transient, and the symptoms of a concussion lessen and go away with time. Numerous concussions, on the other hand, are multiple brain injuries that may lead to long-term damage. A concussion should be treated by a doctor right once since it may cause internal swelling and be lethal.
DIFFUSE AXONAL DAMAGE
This form of injury happens when the head is abruptly and violently moved, as in whiplash or shaken infant syndrome. The brain’s neurons are injured by the rapid jerking action, resulting in lasting brain damage.
This damage is caused by bruising of the brain and solely affects the afflicted area’s function. On the other hand, a cerebral contusion may be deadly depending on which portion of the brain is damaged.
A head injury may burst a blood vessel in the head, and the spilled blood can pool around the brain, generating tremendous pressure that can be deadly if not treated quickly.
Closed head brain injury symptoms may seem modest at first, but they should be checked out straight soon. The following are some of the most prevalent signs and symptoms:
- Vomiting or nausea
- Memory loss, hallucinations, and difficulties speaking are all examples of cognitive issues.
- Any dizziness or visual abnormalities
- Any clear fluid oozing from the eyes, ears, or nose
- Dilated pupils
- Injuries with an open wound
Because an open wound injury almost always ends in the skull cracking, there is a higher risk of long- term brain damage. While not all open wound injuries end in serious or fatal consequences, the brain’s sensitivity makes it more probable than a closed head injury.
Some open wound injuries only travel as far as the skull, while more serious ones might spread much farther and reach the brain. Because it can injure the brain, the latter is significantly more harmful.
The most frequent kind of open wound damage is a linear skull fracture. A fracture in the skull is generally the least severe of the injuries. A depressed skull fracture, on the other hand, causes the skull to be pierced, leaving bone fragments surrounding or even in the brain. The break may cause major blood arteries to tighten, and the injury can result in catastrophic brain damage.
The most frequent sort of open wound damage is also the most deadly because it causes the base of the skull to collapse, making tissue maintain the brain in place more difficult. When the brain is displaced, it is impossible to interact with the spinal cord.
Because there is a visible external wound, open wound damage symptoms are usually simpler to identify. Even yet, the same symptoms that appear after a closed head injury might appear after an open head injury.
HOW CAN YOU ASSIST A LOVED ONE WITH A BRAIN INJURY?
While there is no official guide to coping with brain damage, there are a few suggestions. Dealing with the lifestyle changes that follow a brain injury may be unpleasant for both the injured person and their loved ones, but it is critical to assist the injured person in helping them adjust to their new normal.
HERE ARE EIGHT SUGGESTIONS FOR HELPING A LOVED ONE WHO HAS SUFFERED A BRAIN INJURY:
BE PATIENT AND COMPASSIONATE
When determining how to care for someone who has had a traumatic brain injury, keep in mind that this is likely the worst experience they have ever had. They are likely dissatisfied and impatient since they cannot do basic chores that they were able to accomplish before the accident. As a consequence, you must exercise extreme tolerance and understanding with them.
Patience may be tough at times, especially if your loved one is hostile toward you or if you are wary of repeating yourself to them. However, it’s crucial to realize that your loved one is probably just as dissatisfied with themselves as you are.
Learn about their injury and how it affects them so you can better understand why they’re behaving the way they are—knowing the “why” behind their actions might help you exercise patience with them since you’ll know why they behave the way they do.
Support groups for family members who have lost a loved one to a traumatic brain injury might help you better comprehend their situation and validate your emotions.
TRUST THEIR PAIN AND EMOTIONS
Validation is sometimes overlooked, yet it may make all the difference. You may believe that your loved ones should not be as exhausted or upset as they are, but the effects of a traumatic brain injury are permanent. For weeks, months, or even years after the accident, your loved one may be struggling with the aftereffects of the injury, and these sentiments are understandable.
A brain injury is just that: an injury, and it has to be treated as such. That involves not dismissing or downplaying your loved one’s claims of exhaustion or suffering. Avoid complimenting them on how fortunate they are to be alive or pointing out how much worse others have. These kinds of answers belittle your loved one’s valid sentiments.
Suicidal thoughts are also a possibility for people who have suffered a catastrophic brain injury since the afflicted person may believe they did not deserve to live. These sentiments and ideas should be taken seriously rather than dismissed. These are genuine and unpleasant sentiments for your loved one, and they must be recognized and addressed appropriately.
SEVERE HEAD INJURY
Crushing brain damage occurs when the brain — and, ultimately, the skull — is crushed between two objects. It is the most severe and sometimes deadly kind of traumatic brain injury. This sort of injury is very uncommon, yet it can be fatal due to the risk of brain damage. The more the brain and skull are crushed, the more serious the consequences.
Because the brain no longer defends the skull surrounding it after a crushing brain injury in which the skull is cracked, the brain is placed at even more risk. Crushed blood vessels arise from a crushing brain injury, resulting in serious bleeding.
Crushing brain injuries include a variety of symptoms, including changes in the form of the head and face, as well as impaired motor abilities and involuntary movements.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO PROVIDE APPROPRIATE SUPPORT?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to coping with a brain injury — for both the wounded individual and their loved ones — but it is apparent that support is essential. Physical rehabilitation is just one aspect of rehabilitation; emotional support may help anybody recover from an accident.
Family and close loved ones may assist medical personnel in providing the best possible care for the wounded person by offering information about the injured person that only loved ones would know, such as the injured person’s overall character, probable choices, and long-term objectives.
Because they may not have as intimate a relationship with the wounded person as their closest friends and family, loved ones are more likely to notice small changes in the injured person that medical experts may overlook.
Apart from giving useful information about the wounded individual, adequate support from loved ones may influence the healing process. TBI support for a loved one has been shown in studies to assist them in keeping to a suitable rehabilitation program. Consequently, they are more likely to succeed than individuals who get similar therapy without enough support.
The unconditional support of loved ones may be a lifeline for brain injuries, which frequently result in severe changes in personality and conduct. Knowing that the wounded person is not alone and that their loved ones are there to assist them out, in addition to medical personnel, offers an invaluable feeling of community and security.
It’s also crucial to remember to look for oneself. Finding time to prioritize yourself so that you can be at the top of your game when it comes to assisting your loved one with a TBI may be difficult and take a toll on your mental health.
EMPHASIZE THE RECOGNIZABLE
Because their brain has physically altered due to a life-changing accident like a traumatic brain injury, your loved one may feel as if their life has become chaotic and haphazard. Helping them discover a new normal is an excellent method to help them feel more in control of their situation.
The greatest strategy to assist in highlighting familiarity is to establish and stick to a routine. Include your loved ones in chats, invite them to particular family gatherings, and continue to speak to them as you always have.
Because TBIs may impair memory, gently remind your loved one of familiar locations, events, and people. This may be done using photo albums and familiar items. Place them within easy reach of your loved ones so that they may get to them anytime they desire. Because they are typically emotional triggers, positive keepsakes may bring a special level of consolation for your loved one.
ENCOURAGE FAMILIARITY AND SIMPLICITY.
Your loved one may feel overwhelmed or overstimulated as a result of the cognitive repercussions of brain damage. Keep things easy for your loved one, especially just after the accident. Avoid overburdening them with talks that include a lot of new knowledge or subtle or sarcastic jokes, as your loved one may struggle to keep up and get upset.
It’s critical to emphasize the familiar since old knowledge is easier for your loved one to understand than fresh information. Photos, light chats, and brief social trips all contribute to a sense of familiarity and simplicity.
BE CONSCIOUS OF CHANGES AND RESPECT THEM
After a TBI, your loved one may not seem to be the same person, and you may need to assist them in accepting this. The easiest approach is to be aware of these shifts and accept them as the new normal. Help your loved one recognize that relearning to live life is perfectly normal.
Become knowledgeable about how a traumatic brain injury affects mood and make an additional effort to comprehend what your loved one is going through. Try not to make any changes in your conduct or emotions personally. They are usually an indication of the damage, not how your loved one feels about you. They are most likely having difficulty expressing themselves and maybe even doing basic activities – there is a learning curve for everyone involved.
PERFORM LITTLE ACTS OF KINDNESS
Offering to wash a few loads of laundry or change the bedsheets may seem little, but tiny acts of kindness may go a long way in assisting your loved one. When considering how to care for someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury, remember that a little may go a long way.
Without having to worry about tiny chores, your loved one may avoid being overwhelmed while still staying on top of domestic responsibilities.
Another approach to relieving your loved ones’ stress is to assist them in getting to any appointments they may have and making them a meal or offering to babysit for them if they have children.
If your loved one has children, offering to take their children out for the day so they can have some alone time to recover might be quite helpful since being a parent with a TBI can be even more stressful.
EMPHASIZE THE PROGRESS
Positive reinforcement may help someone with an injury feel better about themselves, and acknowledging the hard effort your loved one has put in to rehabilitate can boost their self- esteem and confidence. Seeing that all of your hard work is paying off in observable changes is also a terrific motivator to keep going with your rehabilitation. It may be tough for your loved ones to see the beneficial improvements.
Positive thinking is beneficial to healing, and recognizing and supporting a job well done is more beneficial than pointing out how privileged your loved one is compared to others.
Every brain injury is unique, and each person lives with their damage in their way. What may be a significant achievement for one person may not be for another, so acknowledge and celebrate significant improvement for your loved one.
NEVER GIVE UP
Giving good assistance to a loved one may be stressful and emotionally demanding, but it is also very gratifying and helpful for everyone involved. Take advantage of the various support organizations and programs available to carers by arming yourself with information.
Recognizing your loved one’s improvement isn’t simply for their benefit; use it to urge yourself to keep providing the working assistance.
AT POST ACUTE MEDICAL, YOU’LL GET SPECIALIZED CARE.
The best way to recover from a traumatic brain injury is to have a strong support structure in place, including medical specialists who are qualified in certain situations. Post-Acute Medical’s team is dedicated to providing comprehensive, multidisciplinary medical treatment.
We provide inpatient and outpatient care intending to return patients to their homes and avoid readmissions. Using innovative procedures and technology, our warm and compassionate team is committed to long-term patient success.
PLEASE CONTACT ONE OF OUR TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY LAWYERS RIGHT NOW
If you or someone you care about experiences a concussion seek knowledgeable specialists who can explain your legal rights and medical treatment options. Closed head traumas, such as diffuse axonal damage, skull fracture, or a substantial concussion, may result in a great deal of difficulty, discomfort, and suffering for both the person and those close to him or her.
If you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic brain injury, please contact me or any of the brain injury attorneys Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, right once. When it comes to probable brain damage, don’t put it off; get medical help as quickly as possible.