Signpost First steps after brain injury
It can be difficult to know what to do, what to expect, and how to prioritise when someone has just suffered a brain injury. Here are some pointers for the first stages after someone suffers an acquired brain injury:
1. Check your rights
Brain injury happens suddenly. Not only does it mean that a victim and carer may no longer be able to work, but care can be expensive. Since it is important that you receive the best possible care, it is advisable to find out which benefits patients and carers are entitled to.
Here is information from The Brain Injury Group to get you started. Please visit the Financial Support and Welfare signpost for more information on this topic.
2. What the hospital experience might be like
It can be overwhelming to be suddenly thrust into a medical environment, hearing terms you’ve never heard before, and meeting various practitioners. Here the Brain Injury Hub provides a list of different hospital staff you might (or should) encounter and what they do.
Although this list is geared towards child patients, the same people treat adults too.
3. Sorting out rehabilitation
Whilst in hospital an ABI patient will receive some rehabilitation according to their ability. When they leave hospital, it is really important that they continue to receive rehabilitation.
First and foremost this means physical rehabilitation, which is performed by a physiotherapist. There is also rehabilitation to help them practise everyday routines again. This is done by an occupational therapist. There are other forms of rehabilitation you might also have to consider such as speech therapy and psychology.
Whilst it is important not to neglect one form of rehabilitation in preference of another, do not be overwhelmed by the number of different forms that there are. There are qualified professionals who will advise you on this.
The Children’s Trust explains many different therapies available to ABI patients. Although this information is also geared towards children, the same information applies to adults too.
For more information on rehabilitation, please visit the Rehabilitation signpost
4. Make sure your house is suitable
After suffering an ABI, an individual might be physically impaired. When they return home you will need to make sure the house has been adapted to their needs. How you need to adapt the home will depend on how they have been affected. For example, if they find it difficult to walk up stairs, you might need to install a handrail.
Headway has a section on adaptations to the home on this page
You can also apply for a means-tested grant to help cover costs
5. Thinking long-term
One problem with thinking long-term when it comes to brain injury is that it is hard to predict anything in the long-run. Different people respond to therapy at different speeds, and with varied success. It is important to take each day as it comes and to be well-informed.
Here Brainline outlines what you might expect in the long-term