How To Care For Someone With A Brain Injury
A brain injury may change the way someone thinks, behaves and understands life, relationships, and everything else. It is therefore not only challenging for the patient who experiences it; loved ones and family members can also struggle with this change, and it can be difficult to navigate caring for the patient.
Four Oaks Healthcare has many years of experience with brain injury patients and is here to help. We’ve put together this guide on how to care for someone with a brain injury so that you can provide the best possible care for your loved one, while also caring for yourself.
5 Tips for caring for TBI patients at home
Brain injuries will present differently for each patient, depending on what part of the brain is affected, and to what extent. There are two main types of brain injury, including TBI (traumatic brain injury) and ABI (acquired brain injury), and this will also determine the change in your loved one and the extent of your readiness.
It is important to know that this will be a difficult and emotional time for both the patient and their family, as a significant learning curve is involved while everyone adjusts to the new state of things. So be patient with yourself and the patient, and follow these tips to provide the best possible care.
Note: If you would like to learn more about brain injury and the care we offer, read about our brain injury services.
Since brain injury can alter the way that someone understands and uses language, and can even result in temporary loss of speech, overcoming communication barriers is of top importance.
A patient may struggle to find the correct words or understand what you are saying, but it does not mean that they have lost their intelligence. So it is not only important to overcome barriers, but to communicate effectively, and with patience and love. Be careful not to shout at them when you are frustrated and do not complain to them about your new role as their carer. Be kind, and step back when you are frustrated.
2. Educate yourself about brain injuries
Knowing what your loved one is dealing with and how it is affecting their experience of life is extremely important. It not only enables you to provide them with optimal care tailored to their experience, but it also allows you to better understand and empathize with them.
Some of their symptoms will be clear, such as possible not being able to talk or walk. However, there are a number of subtle secondary effects that may not be so easy to pick up on. It is, therefore, crucial to educate yourself on what these might be, so that you know that if the patient snaps at you, they may be feeling tired or fatigued, etc.
3. Encourage therapy and rehabilitation exercises
The brain is a muscle, and brain injury patients will need to strengthen theirs in a number of ways. When one part of the brain is weakened or otherwise damaged by injury, patients will learn to shift those processes to different parts of the brain. This is called neuroplasticity and is one of the best ways for the brain to heal itself.
However, patients will often forget to do the exercises they need or may struggle to find the motivation. Be patient and encouraging, so that they can improve consistently.
4. Record and celebrate their wins
Recovering from a brain injury is an arduous and sometimes discouraging journey. Be sure to notice, note, and celebrate their gains, big and small. This will encourage them to keep going when it is hard. In addition to this, you will have a record to show the doctors, and to look back on when the patient is better.
5. Take time for yourself
As previously mentioned, caring for a loved one with a brain injury is hard on the person giving care. You may find yourself feeling discouraged, depressed or even angry. Take time for yourself and focus on your mental health, keeping in mind that you are also important, and are doing the best you can.
If you are struggling or think that the patient would benefit from professional care, consider getting a live-in carer. A professional can take the pressure off of you while ensuring that your loved one gets the best possible care to lead to their recovery, and ensure their comfort and peace during the journey.