Brain injuries are unlike any other trauma a person can experience. While there could be pain and a physical wound like other injuries, severe head traumas can change a person’s cognitive abilities and even their personality.
When the person facing the head trauma is close to you, it’s natural to want to help. Unlike an external injury, though, it’s harder to know the best way to assist with the often unique symptom set that person could be facing.
At Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center, we understand the problems your loved one faces and how difficult it can be to provide the support they need during their recovery. To help you be there for the important people in your life, we’ve prepared these suggestions.
Patience is key
The effects of severe head trauma can be unpredictable. Side effects can vary widely, with unpredictable new symptoms emerging through the recovery period. Your loved one could seem like a different person each day. Some of these days, they’ll seem like themselves, while other times, they could be anything but.
You may have to repeat things often, even such basic information as your name and your relationship with the patient. It can be a frustrating challenge for you, and it’s an even bigger challenge for your loved one. They may express their frustration in uncharacteristic ways. Understand that these unusual reactions are part of the injury, not things directed at you.
A benefit of offering your patience through the head trauma symptoms is that you’re giving your loved one a point of reference, a calm and consistent presence upon which they can rely. Understand that their world is scrambled, and it’s easy to lose a sense of stability under such circumstances.
You can help to provide stability in your loved one’s life through things like:
- Developing new patterns and daily routines upon which they can depend
- Provide opportunities and encouragement for the patient to rest
- Be as natural as their condition allows you to be
- Involve them in conversations with others, and speak with them in your usual tone of voice
- Keep photos handy of important people and places to help re-establish connections
Your loved one may not recognize the world around them that should be familiar. You’re serving as a guide back to their stable environment through the changes that head traumas create.
Take over errands
As well as the cognitive and personality changes that severe head trauma can cause, there’s a physical toll that typically shows up as fatigue and low energy. You can help by taking over some of the daily errands many take for granted. Running to the grocery store or pharmacy on their behalf expands the time they have available for rest.
Offer to help. Don’t wait for them to ask since their thinking process may not work normally through their recovery. Asking may also provide them with a sense of control over their independence, something that a head trauma may take from them.
Contact Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center by phone or online if we are treating your loved one for head trauma. We can help you better understand their condition so you can assist them more effectively.