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What should I know about caring for a brain injury patient?

Caring for someone who suffered a brain injury is very difficult, especially if the person is someone you love. For the family members and caregivers of people with a brain injury, there are several points you should know of that can help you as you walk this difficult journey.

What should I be ready for in the days after the injury?

Immediately following the accident, you should be prepared to seek out help with several aspects of daily life. If you have children, you will likely need help with the children. The same is true for pets and household duties. In the first days after the accident, your life will likely revolve around taking care of your loved one. If that person is in the hospital, there is a good chance that you won't leave the hospital for a few days.

What are the emotional struggles I might face?

The emotional struggles that you face will likely change as time progresses. At first, you might be struggling with the disbelief that the accident occurred. You may want your loved one back like before. You may find that you are upset with the rules of the hospital, especially if those rules pull you from your loved one's bedside. The emotional trauma can begin to change into a depression of sorts as you realize how much your life is changing. If you feel overwhelmed, you should try to find support or professional help.

How can I get relief from the constant struggles?

Throughout your time caring for your loved one, you need to remember to take care of you. Don't feel guilty for taking time to yourself periodically. You can't let yourself go downhill too far because then you will be unable to properly care for your loved one.

If your loved one's accident was the result of negligence, you might decide that you need to seek compensation for the injury. While compensation wouldn't be instantaneous, it could help you to cover the expenses that you have incurred because of the accident.

Source: Brain Injury Association of America, "Family & Caregivers," accessed Nov. 03, 2016

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