Caring for someone with a traumatic brain injury largely depends on the severity of the symptoms.
Every year, approximately 1.7 million people in Illinois across the country suffer a traumatic brain injury. The majority of those people will be treated at an emergency department and released, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Roughly 275,000 will require hospitalization.
Because levels of TBI can be so varied, there is not a one-size-fits-all plan for how to care for someone who has had one. Experts do recommend the following tips for anyone who knows someone with a brain injury.
Understand the condition
One of the most important ways to help a TBI victim is to simply understand what he or she may be experiencing. The Brain Injury Association of Illinois points out that people with brain injuries could present the following symptoms:
- Issues with cognitive functions, including memory problems, difficulty communicating or concentrating and poor judgment
- Changes in behavior, such as agitation, restlessness anxiety and even depression
- Physical problems, like paralysis, seizures, difficulty hearing or speech issues
Every injury will be unique. Friends and family should speak with medical professionals to get a sense of what is to be expected.
Helping around the house
Once the patient has been released from medical care, there is still much work to do to help him or her acclimate back to life at home. The recovery process is often unpredictable. As the Brain Injury Association of America reports, someone who is progressing physically may still have cognitive impairments, or vice versa.
A common thread among people recovering from TBI is difficulty organizing or planning what should be done that day. In situations where this proves to be true, friends and families are encouraged to help establish a routine that may include rehabilitation care and some kind of activity.
Setting up a room at the patient's house can also be helpful. For example, a room in which the person will be spending the most time can be put together to maximize independent function. Cabinets may need to be labeled to describe what is inside, and everyday items such as glasses or a wallet can be placed in an easy-to-remember spot.
Monitor behavioral changes
Someone could experience symptoms months and even years after the incident that caused the injury, such as a car accident or fall. If someone starts hallucinating or complaining about bad tastes or foul smells, the BIAA warns that he or she may be prone to so-called silent seizures, which do not involve convulsions. Any abnormal activity should be reported to a physician immediately.
Recovering from a TBI can be a lengthy and costly process. In Illinois, people who suffer such an injury due to someone else's negligence may be able to seek legal recourse and hold the party responsible for damages. People who have questions regarding this matter should consult with an attorney.