Living with Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury is an intracranial injury that occurs when the head is severely hit against an object as a result of slip and fall. It can also happen during an automobile accident or when head is struck intentionally and violently.

This complex brain injury is so devastating. It can greatly impact the victim physically, emotionally and financially. The burden is not only on the victim but also to the family. This is because family members try to ensure that their loved one gets all the medical care for speedy recovery from a brain injury.

Cost of Treatment

The initial burden is the cost of treating a victim of a head injury which usually requires surgery. Surgery expenses are higher when an object such as a vehicle windshield glass penetrates through the skull. More so when the impact leaves glass fragments in the brain. More expenses will be generated after the person survives the surgery. This will require an extended time of hospitalization.

Immediate care and rehabilitation in the first 12 months following the traumatic brain injury will form part of the major expenses.

Other expenses will come from medication and frequent follow-up visits to the doctor or specialist as well as  clinical testing. The lifetime costs to be incurred by survivors of traumatic brain injuries can reach to an estimated four million US dollars.

Medical Insurance and Work

Additional burden occurs when the brain injury survivor has no medical insurance or if he is the sole breadwinner of the family. The inability to work is devastating to both the survivor and the family he supports. Failure to report for work for an extended period of time might lead to permanent loss of that job.

Even for those with insurance claims, it may cover some expenses but long-term treatment will force family members to find other ways to earn.

Rehabilitation

Having a brain injury is truly a life changing condition not only for the victim but for the immediate family who will give support. The victim must go through a strict rehabilitation routine to restore body functions affected by the injury.

An in-patient rehabilitation can be more effective than an out patient rehabilitation. However, this may be very costly. A proven in-patient hospital rehabilitation involves medical stabilization, physical rehabilitation as well as developing cognitive and behavioral abilities. This interdisciplinary approach provides for complete treatment from learning, coping and adapting to present situation.

Family Support

The most important care a person with brain injury should receive is that from the family. Having family to stay  right from the start or in the hospital is considered the most distressing situation, more than that for the person with the injury. Conflicts can arise among the carers and the medical staff.

However, family members must always be calm and focus on providing all the care while in the hospital and during the rehabilitation process. However, they must also attend to their health, too. Having enough rest and sleep will enable them to cope with the victim’s recovery stage.

At the hospital, the relatives should communicate as much as possible with medical staff so that the staff can suggest some ways on how they could effectively help the patient. There must be shifting in the visiting hours of the family as well as of friends. Personal care and grooming of the patient can also be done by the relatives.

The support of the family is just as important during the patient’s rehabilitation. There will be a lot of fundamental changes to the personality and nature of the patient. This is the most difficult stage for the family. They must accept the changes in their loved one. They need to change their lifestyle drastically to cope with all the challenges of caring for someone after a brain injury and give the support needed  for his recovery.

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