For someone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), their life will probably never be the same as it was. Even if they mostly recover from the initial injury, they might have symptoms that last for years and possibly forever. As someone who loves the person who has a TBI, you want to know how you can best support them. The personal injury lawyers at Walter Law Group offer the following tips for supporting someone with a TBI.
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Each Day is Different
Especially in the early days of a TBI, every day is going to be different for both the patient and the people who love them. The symptoms they experience may not be the same each day, which can be scary, particularly when a new symptom occurs for the first time. On one day, they might appear almost fully recovered and the next day, they can’t even sit up.
The brain is a mystery, even to professionals, so the best you can do is take each day as it comes. Understand that setbacks will happen and that they don’t mean the patient will never recover. It just means they’re still in the process of recovering. If you get upset with the fluctuations, so will they and that’s the last thing they need at the moment.
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Ask How to Help
There are always things you can do to aid in a person’s recovery from a TBI, but unless you ask the patient’s medical care team, you might not know what those things are. It’s also important to get permission to work with the patient from their family (if you aren’t their direct caregiver). They will usually welcome any and all support from friends, but it’s respectful to ask anyway.
Even if the only way you can support them is by sitting with them quietly, you are still providing an important service. You might be giving another person some respite or providing the patient with some variety in who visits them.
All brain injuries heal differently and to different degrees. While the patient’s medical team will be able to give you some answers, they probably won’t be able to give you all the information you want to know. Again, brain injuries are extremely unpredictable so the doctors can only tell you so much because they only know so much.
When you start to get frustrated with your loved one’s recovery, think about how they feel. They are probably 100 times more frustrated than you are and might not be able to express it. Patience is key for both of you, but they might not be able to control their frustration. If they see you getting frustrated, they will become even more so, which could delay their recovery altogether.
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For the person with a traumatic brain injury, a support system made up of their friends and family is vital to their recovery. But it can be difficult to know how to support them. The tips given here will give you a starting point as you and the patient begin their healing journey together.