Each year, over 1.4 million Americans suffer from brain injuries — many of which cause life-changing impact not only on those affected, but also on their friends and families. The injuries usually result from motor vehicle accidents, falls, domestic assaults, violence or any other situations where someone’s head is struck or penetrated. Many of these injuries require prolonged hospitalization followed by physical therapy and many years of rehabilitation.

If you were impacted by traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to the negligence or intent of another person, you could be eligible for personal injury damages that could cover the costs of any procedures, as well as monetary support for any emotional suffering or property loss in the aftermath of the accident. A personal injury lawyer, like a brain injury lawyer, can explain this in detail for your situation.  However, while there are several resources for those affected with TBI, there is relatively less information aimed towards their caregivers and family members.

If you have a loved one suffering from TBI, read these few guidelines to prepare you for taking care of your friend or family member.

The Immediate Aftermath

The early days of your loved one’s TBI will most likely involve a whirlwind of emotions, medication, hospital personnel, and potentially life-altering decisions. You may have to come to terms with a shifting role in your relationship with your loved one as you move into a caretaker role. This comes with many new financial, emotional, and physical responsibilities that you probably are unaccustomed to providing. During this time period, you should look after yourself, ensuring you’re in a strong mental state as you assume your new role in your loved one’s life. Meanwhile, start collecting any information regarding your loved one’s insurance, government benefits, and litigation information if you wish to file a personal injury claim.

The Recovery Process

The recovery process for anyone suffering from TBI can be long and tiring for both the victim and caregivers. During the immediate aftermath, you will likely be moving through a fog of shock and disbelief. You will most likely take time off work to stay with your loved one in the hospital. However, once the survivor moves back home or to a rehabilitation program, your role will likely become more hands-on. You may suddenly be thrown into a new lifestyle where you are providing constant care for your loved one, redefining your expectations and societal roles.

The Future

Many caregivers experience shifts in their psychological, or even physical, well-being. These could include high levels of stress, health issues, irritability, and anger toward the TBI survivor. If you are the primary caregiver, you should have constant support from other family members and friends. If this is not readily available, you should join support groups or regularly attend counseling. While your primary goal may be caring for your injured loved one, you should always keep close tabs on your personal health and well-being.

There are currently 5 million Americans suffering from long-term TBI and there is constant technological advancements designed to help them have an easier life. If your loved one has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, don’t give up hope. There is potential everyday for changes that could improve your loved one’s quality of life.