When someone experiences a brain injury, it is likely to take months or even years for them to recover and, while some will make a full recovery, others may be left with life-long consequences.
If a loved one of yours has suffered a brain injury, there are various issues they are likely to face as they recover and learn to live with any limitations resulting from their injury. Fortunately, there are many practical things you can do to help your loved one cope and improve their quality of life.
Get in touch with brain injury organizations. There are various organisations dedicated to helping people with brain injuries, such as the charity Headway. They can offer a range of support for you and your loved one, including connecting you with local support groups, providing means-tested emergency funds and supplying your loved one with a Brain Injury Identity Card.
Assist with self-care. Depending on the severity of your loved one’s injuries, they are likely to need help caring for themselves, at least in the early period of their recovery. The sort of help they need will vary, from assistance dressing themselves or preparing meals, to lifts to rehabilitation appointments and more.
While friends and family members often have a strong urge to help in such situations, it’s also important to make sure you recognize the limits of your own abilities and turn to professional care workers, where appropriate.
Support their rehabilitation. Your loved one is likely to go through a range of rehabilitation exercises, including those related to physiotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. While these will normally be carried out initially in a clinical setting with trained staff, your loved one will normally need to carry these exercises on at home.
You can often significantly improve the level of recovery they can achieve by encouraging your loved one to keep working at their rehabilitation exercises and helping them to carry them out as required.
Providing emotional support. Often the most critical thing that someone dealing with a brain injury needs is the love, compassion and understanding of those closest to them. It is very common for people recovering from a brain injury to experience issues such as depression and anxiety. The support of loved ones can be essential in reducing the feeling of isolation and frustration.
However, again, it is important to recognize the limits of the help you can provide and to recognize when professional support is needed. This is especially true where you believe your loved one could be a danger to themselves or others, such as if they have issues with personal safety or severe mood fluctuations.
Help a loved one to claim compensation for a brain injury. It is likely that your loved one who is living with a brain injury will need assistance in claiming compensation for your injuries and losses where available. If their injury was due to negligence or deliberate action by someone else, they could be entitled to a significant settlement.
To help your loved one make a claim, you will likely need to be appointed as their ‘litigation friend’. This involves applying to a court and may require you to prove that you are a suitable person to take on this role. If you are currently acting under a Lasting Power of Attorney or as a Court of Protection deputy for your loved one, this is usually relatively straightforward.
As a litigation friend, you can act for your loved one in relation to the claim, including deciding how to proceed, appearing for them in court and choosing whether to accept any settlement that is offered by the defendant.
While there is usually no time limit to make a claim for those who lack the mental capacity to do so themselves, your chances of success are usually higher the sooner you act, so we strongly urge you not to delay.
IBB Claims specialize in brain injury compensation claims, so can support you through the entire process of securing compensation for your loved one. Compensation is often essential to ensure a brain injury survivor has all of the support they need for their rehabilitation and recovery, so we always recommend getting in touch where you believe there is the possibility of a claim.
Photo by Loïc Fürhoff