In 2016-2017 Headway UK analysed that every 90 seconds someone in the UK was being admitted to hospital for an acquired brain injury (ABI) and every three minutes someone was admitted to hospital with a head injury. Whilst not every one of these was life changing, many are, thus affecting not only the person who sustained their injury but their family, friends, employers and work colleagues all in different ways.
For those who have sustained a life altering brain injury it is crucial that rehabilitation starts as soon as possible to help return the person to as close a position to that they were in before. If you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury there is support out there to help you through this tough time – and a number of wonderful charities that can offer additional services and support…
Taking care of the finances
If your loved one was employed before they were injured then help them find out if their company offers a sick pay scheme that might be more than statutory sick pay (SSP). You should also check if they’re eligible for other benefits such as Contributions based Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment. If you are caring for them then it may also be that you can claim a Carer’s Allowance. The benefits system can appear daunting so if you are ensure what you can claim for it is always worth seeking advice from a solicitor, charities supporting people with brain injuries or the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Helping them rebuild their independence
The extent to which this can be achieved is entirely determined by the severity of the person’s brain injury. It could be that you are helping your loved one with daily tasks such as getting dressed, preparing their meals and having a wash. Alternatively your loved one could still be in hospital or a rehabilitation unit requiring assistance with everything they do. Whatever the position it is crucial they are fully supported with things they have difficulty with and encouraged to the maximum to do the things they can do for themselves, even if, at this stage that is holding their head upright. The more things they realise they can do with prompts, encouragement and support, the more you will assist them in rebuilding their confidence, self-reliance and therefore independence.
Encourage them to look after themselves
Of course, we don’t mean you should just leave your loved one to their own devices, but instead encourage them to be aware of their own well-being. Help them to help themselves. This could include suggesting they take up a new hobby, having some input from a trained neuropsychologist or reminding them to have a shower when they forget.
Keep a daily routine
If someone with a brain injury has now come to live with you at home then it’s really important as far as possible you help them to find and stick to a routine. This can be as straightforward as getting up at the same time each morning, eating three meals a day and exploring things they can do in the day to give them a sense of purpose even if they require support to do it.
Remember, you need to rest too
It goes without saying your loved one will need lots of rest while they recover from their head or brain injury, especially if they are suffering with high levels of fatigue because of it. It is however, important that you get rest too. This is just as much for their benefit as it is your own. Eat well, make time for yourself, and spend quality time with friends. If you’re feeling low or stressed or anxious then don’t keep it hidden. Speak to friends and family or join a carer support group (more information below).
Useful contact details
Whether you need advice on caring for a person with a brain or head injury – or you just want to meet families in a similar situation, here are some useful contact details for charities and organisations designed to help you and your family:
|Brain and Spinal Injury Centre (BASIC)||0161 707 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Child Brain Injury Trust||0303 303 email@example.com|
|Head Injured People in Cheshire||01244 650 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Headway UK||0808 800 email@example.com|
We work with a range of head and brain injury charities, so we can help you find the rehabilitation and recovery services your loved one needs. We can also advise on the financial assistance available to you. To find out more, get in touch with us today: