Returning Home after Brain Injury – The Caregivers Role

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Returning Home after Brain Injury – The Caregivers Role

Once the brain injury survivor has gotten all of the hospital care that is needed, the returning home after brain injury begins.  The role of the caregiver really kicks into gear.  This came be a very joyous time for the family but not without complications.  You might think that it will be much easier on the caregiver as they no longer have to spends hours and days in the hospital with their loved one.  Sometimes it could be quite a distance to  the hospital form home.  The relief on not spending all that time on the road should be quite good in itself. In reality the survivor returning home is not without complications and added stress.

Your loved one may not be the same person that left home the day of the accident.  The deficits acquired through the traumatic brain injury may create problems on their returning home after brain injury.  I want to give you some examples through our TBI Voices project of some of the difficulties that can arise with the return home.  These are real life stories of survivors of traumatic brain injury.

Stories of Survivors Returning Home after Brain Injury

Our first example is from a mothers perspective of her daughters return home after suffering a severe traumatic brain injury.She was a pedestrian and got hit by a truck driven by a drunk driver.  For anonymity purposes we will call this survivor Chris. Chris was in a coma for almost 3 months.  She was transferred to two different hospital in her time of recovery.  The third facility worked with her to make the transition of returning home after brain injury doable. At the time of the accident Chris was a 15 year old typical teenager.  As we all know, teenagers can be difficult without injury.  Now add severe traumatic brain injury to the mix.

At first Chris only came home on weekends.  This was great for the whole family to begin with.  But after a couple of weekends it became extremely difficult for her mother to get her to go back to the treatment facility where she was getting her rehabilitation once the weekend was over.  Chris became very combative regarding going back to the rehabilitation center so they had to discontinue the weekends home for a while.

Chris had frontal lobe deficits including time management issues, mood issues and off and on depression.  Chris did return to school and even a part time job on her returning home after brain injury.  She was very lucky to have had the rehabilitation she had and the community support which tremendously helped with her recovery.  To read Chris’s story click here

Another example of returning home after brain injury comes from our interview with Doug.  Doug was in a devastating single car accident when his brakes went out.  In the accident he suffered broken legs and a severe brain injury.  He was in a coma for what he believes is a couple of months.  The accident happened in January and he started emerging from his coma sometime in March.  He was hospitalized for a period of 5 months.

Because of the intense therapy that Doug received in the rehabilitation facility he was in, his transition into “the real world” (as Doug terms it), transitioning was made possible.  Doug basically became his own caregiver which was only possible because of the therapy he received.  He does have an aide that come in once a day and helps him with household chores and takes him grocery shopping.  Without the kind of therapy that Doug received and no caregiver to speak of Doug may have fallen through the cracks. To read Doug’s complete story click here

This is a sampling of the many returning home after brain injury stories that are told in the TBI Voices project.  For the most part the return home is successful but not without challenges.  The most common difficulty you will read about is the mood and anger issues of the survivor.  Brain injury can change the personality of the survivor.  One could be very docile and easy to get along with before the injury and very difficult after.  Medications are often prescribed to try to treat anxiety issues.

The type of rehabilitation the survivor receives is most important when it comes to the physical aspects of their injuries and also neurologically speaking.  Don’t give up hope and there is help out there for dealing with many issues that occur when bringing home a loved one that has suffered traumatic brain injury.

 Severe Brain Injury Symptoms

 

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Gordon Johnson

Attorney Gordon Johnson is one of the nations leading brain injury advocates. He is Past-Chair of the TBILG, a national group of more than 150 brain injury advocates. He has spoken at numerous brain injury seminars and is the author of some of the most read brain injury web pages on the internet.

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