If you receive a phone call from a Louisiana law enforcement or rescue agency informing you that your loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, not only the rest of your day, but the rest of your life, could drastically change. Many accidents result in severe to life-threatening injuries. If your loved one has suffered a brain injury in a collision, for instance, he or she may come to rely on you for daily care.
The sudden force and impact that occurs when two or more vehicles collide can have a devastating effect on a person’s brain. If your loved one suffered a skull fracture, swelling of the brain or a bleed, the result might be an impairment that lasts a lifetime. It’s helpful to know exactly what type of brain injury occurred, so that you can then learn how to help your family member.
Rebuilding neural pathways after a collision
The neural pathways of a human brain can often be rebuilt after the brain has suffered a severe injury. As a caregiver to a family member who has suffered a traumatic brain injury in a collision, you can promote healing by encouraging your loved one to be as independent in his or her daily activities, as possible. The term “neuroplasticity” refers to recovery of abilities that were lost due to traumatic brain injury.
It’s only natural that you want to do things for someone you love who has suffered a brain injury. However, it is helpful if you encourage him or her to do whatever he or she can do without assistance, even if it’s a struggle, at first. For example, if your loved one lost mobility in an arm, but doctors believe it can be regained, it’s best to encourage the patient to repeatedly try to use that arm each day.
Emotional trauma often accompanies a brain injury
Whether your loved one who has suffered a brain injury in a collision is an adult or a child, he or she may experience severe emotional trauma from the incident. This might include nightmares, mood swings or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Such conditions often evoke feelings of frustration or anger, which can cause distress for a caregiver.
Patience and empathy are helpful attributes to have in such circumstances. At the same time, try not to be too hard on yourself if you feel stressed or overwhelmed by it all. Caregivers need rest and time to themselves to rejuvenate and refresh their mind and body.
If your loved one has suffered dysarthria after a collision
Dysarthria, which means “slurred speech,” is a common symptom of brain injury. Your spouse or child might be difficult to understand if he or she tries to communicate with you. It’s tough to know what your loved one’s needs might be, if the ability to speak clearly has been lost.
You might try writing things down or using digital technology to help your loved one convey thoughts in a coherent manner.
Support is available for caregivers of brain injury patients
If you are caring for a loved one who has suffered a brain injury in a Louisiana collision, you can tap into local resources for guidance and support, as needed. If driver negligence caused the accident, your loved one may seek restitution in court.