Guide to brain injury and rehabilitation
Brain damage or injury can have a long-term effect, not only on the person it’s happened to, but on their loved ones too. Depending upon the severity of the head injury and the part of the brain that has been injured, the effects can be physical, cognitive or psychological.
Brain injuries are commonly categorised as either ‘traumatic’ or ‘acquired’.
What’s the difference between a traumatic and an acquired brain injury?
A traumatic brain injury is likely to have been caused by a sudden blow, bump or jolt to the head. Traumatic brain injuries are normally associated with incidents such as car and road traffic accidents, falls or trips, sporting injuries or assaults, such as domestic abuse.
An acquired brain injury is one that occurs at the time of birth or after birth. The most common acquired brain injury at birth is cerebral palsy, but others include erb’s palsy, shoulder dystocia leading to brachial plexus injury and incorrect use of medical instruments such as forceps. Brain injuries acquired after birth tend to be caused by an infection, tumour, stroke or a medical accident or negligence such as untreated hydrocephalus in young babies.
What can loved ones do after someone suffers a brain injury?
Once you have come to terms with the initial shock and change that brain injury can bring, it can be difficult for family and friends to know where to start and what to prioritise.
The effects of a brain injury can vary in severity and can affect many aspects of day-to-day life. The support available to those with a brain injury can also vary depending on where a person is in the country and unfortunately, many people cannot access the important services that they need. Organisations such as Headway and Brain Injury Group provide essential support for those affected by an injury, and can signpost you to further help.
Our specialist brain injury solicitors have provided some useful pointers for things to think about.
If you or a loved one have been affected by a brain or head injury, you may want to prioritise rehabilitation. As a start, you should check if appointments are being made with the following specialists who are often involved in brain injury rehabilitation once someone has been discharged from hospital:
- Neuropsychologist: they can assess and advise on the treatment of behavioural, emotional and cognitive that may occur following a brain injury.
- Physiotherapist: they will support the injured person and their caregivers to achieve the best possible outcome in terms of physical, cognitive, social and psychological function.
- Occupational Therapist (OT): their aim is to help people improve their ability to carry out daily activities as independently as possible. An OT may also help to identify any challenges in the home environment and recommend appropriate adaptations.
- Speech and Language Therapist: they provide support to those who have challenges with eating, drinking and swallowing, as well as helping with a person’s speech and communication skills.
- Nurse/carer: it can be emotionally difficult to care for a loved one following a brain injury and a nurse/carer will help to ease some of the pressure of day-to-day care.
If our personal injury solicitors secure an admission of liability, we may be able to seek an interim payment of damages to fund any rehabilitation you need. We can also suggest some therapists that will be able to help you.
You may wish to consider appointing a Case Manager to assist you with the organisation of these rehabilitation services. A Case Manager is responsible for overseeing and managing the needs of a person with a brain injury, which will include the co-ordination of the above therapies.
Case Managers are only usually available through private referrals and can be organised once an interim payment has been achieved through a successful claim for compensation.
No one expects to suffer a brain injury, and so when it does happen, the victim can be left without a stable income due to being unable to work. Not all rehabilitation services can be accessed through the NHS and so engaging the support of these services can be expensive. As it is important that the injured person receives the best possible care, you may wish to find out which benefits patients and carers are entitled to. The Brain Injury Group have a useful guide to welfare benefits for brain injuries here.
If someone close to you has lost the ability to make their own decisions as a result of a brain injury, then you may need to apply to the Court of Protection to be their Deputy. By applying for Deputyship, you can be appointed by the Court to act or make decisions on behalf of someone who lacks the capacity to do so themselves.
Contact our specialist brain injury solicitors today
If you or a loved one have suffered a brain injury as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault, our head injury solicitors in Bristol and South Gloucestershire can help you claim compensation. Call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our enquiry form to get started.
Our personal injury lawyers are accredited by the Law Society for Personal Injury law and are on the approved brain injury solicitors list of leading UK brain injury charity, Headway. Our solicitors are also associated with the Brain Injury Group, a national network of dedicated brain injury lawyers.
Brain Injury Awareness Week
Want to help raise awareness about brain injury? Headway’s Action for Brain Injury Awareness Week runs from 17th – 23rd May 2021. You can find out more about how to support the campaign here.