Those who care for patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) know firsthand how unpredictable recovery can be. They see ordinary people, simply living life, fall victim to tragedy from a fall, car or motorcycle accident or other injury. The patients they treat are not daredevils. They are ordinary people who suffered an unexpected blow to the head that has left them changed forever.
Bones and muscles heal, but brain injuries are different. When brain tissues are damaged, there can be a wide array of functional problems affecting cognition, speech, learning, emotions, behaviors and senses, lasting for years. The most frustrating part for caregivers is being unable to offer any reliable prognosis to families of the injured.
Caregivers sometimes see seemingly hopelessly cases find miraculous recoveries. At the same time, a simple fall can turn into a state of permanent confusion that never heals. There is simply no way to know how well a patient will recover from TBI. The only way to cope is to remain positive and use whatever tools available to help patients focus on recovery, rather than dwelling on the frustration of their impaired brain function.
Depression is an ever-present threat for patients. Most have never experienced such a serious injury. They are used to injuries healing in a matter of weeks. When time drags on to months and then years, the unrelenting stress eventually leads to depression. One volunteer at a charity for the brain-injured described recovery “like eating an elephant – incredibly daunting at first, but if you break it down piece by piece, eventually you’ll conquer it.”
There is always a danger of patients pushing too hard for recovery, only to set themselves up for more frustration and a longer recovery. Mood management is a large part of recovery and the frustration of trying to work before they are ready drains confidence and consequently the ability to heal. Recovery from TBI is a slow process that no one can predict. Patients must focus on long-term recovery goals and avoid the urge to setting time-lines to reach those goals.
For families frustrated with a medical system that cannot offer a prognosis, the best thing to do is to put yourself in the place of your injured loved one. Imagine the frustration of being unable to think clearly, stand straight, or control your mood. Understanding the difficulties faced by your loved one may make it easier for you to help and to cheer someone caught in a constant struggle to recover their lives and minds.
If you are caring for a loved one with TBI, it is important that you have the case examined by an experienced brain injury attorney from our office. If someone was to blame for the injury, or if inadequate medical treatment worsened the outcome, we may be able to help your loved one gain compensation for his or her injuries. The long road ahead will require many types of medical treatment and funds from a claim may help cover those costs. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.