The Do's and Don'ts of Brain Injury

The first few hours, days and weeks following a brain injury are an uncertain and difficult time for a patient’s loved ones.

Getting over the shock of the initial injury and learning everything you need to know about what will come next can be overwhelming. Because recovery from brain injury is unpredictable, it can be very frustrating. The medical world is sometimes fast-paced, and care happens around the clock. Right now, you need to do what you can to cope and to take care of yourself, hour by hour and then day by day.

Read as much as you can about brain injury

And then stay connected with others who truly understand. Caregivers, well-meaning friends, the Internet, brain injury support groups, and families of other patients are all good sources of information.

Be Patient

The person undergone brain injury has altered brain wiring due to the injury. So the patient will require more than usual time to respond to any given stimulus. Be patient and give the patient his/her own time to respond. Be aware that at this level, it is normal for a person to respond incorrectly, slowly or not at all.

Keep a sense of humor

Don’t be afraid to laugh with your cares; it can do much to uplift your spirits and reduce depression.

Have strong faith

The therapies and recovery time can be quite lengthy, and may be frustrating. Keep faith on the treatments that you are taking.

Provide a calm, quiet environment

Decrease extra noises from television or music.

Keep it short and simple

These sentences are easier for the person with the brain injury to comprehend.

Orient the person

To the day, place and situation. Many brain injuries lead to a loss of orientation. Always keep a clock and calendar in the room and point out day/date/time.

Use familiar music, family pictures, etc.

To decorate the room to increase involvement and familiarity

Give your loved one plenty of time to rest

Most body repairs happen in the resting period. Therefore overcrowding visitors during the patient’s rest time should be avoided.

Ask friends and family

to write short notes instead of calling, as calling can frustrate the patient even more. Also, that way you’ll have something to read to your loved one.

Remember to take care of yourself

If you look tired and stressed, the anxiety will pass on to the patient. Make sure you eat right and exercise to stretch your muscles.

Don't be alarmed

by the number of tubes and wires you see hooked up to your loved one’s body. They all serve a purpose in delivering medication or monitoring the body functions so that doctors can be aware of even the slightest change.

Don't resist

yourself from understanding the medical abbreviations and treatment procedures. By understanding them you can give important information and history to the other therapists and doctors who may come to treat the patient.

Don't refrain

yourself from asking doctors and therapists your doubts regarding treatment pathway.

Don't be scared

to learn procedures that doctors/ therapists might ask you to do for the betterment of the patient.

Don't argue

with your loved one. Beware that some confusion and agitation is expected.

Don't take bad behavior personally

Because the patient has undergone a brain injury the brain is always irritated and in a state of confusion and agitation. So some amount of aggression and shouting is expected.

Don't assume he/she can't hear you

Be careful not to say anything upsetting within earshot.

Don't overdo it

Allow time to rest between your visits and maintain a calm tone of voice. Even though you are always ready to give maximum stimulation, the patient may not always be in a state to absorb it.

Don't be their mouthpiece

Always have at the back of your mind the respectable life they had before the incident of brain injury. Don’t take their respect away in the rush to help them. Ask the patient before taking decisions for him/her. If he/she gives you the consent to make decisions for them, only then go ahead.