Caring for someone with a brain injury
Acquired brain injuries don't just affect individuals; they can transform the lives of entire families. Depending upon the severity of your relative's injury and its effects, you may have to make considerable changes to the way you live, such as becoming a part-time or full-time carer.
The term brain injury covers a range of conditions including strokes, brain tumors, encephalitis and brain hemorrhages. It also includes traumatic brain injuries - often caused by trauma to the head from road traffic accidents, assaults or falls.
The effects of a brain injury can include communication problems, behaviourial changes, cognitive issues and in some cases, reduced awareness and/or coma.
Headway have further information about the causes, effects and rehabilitation of brain injuries on their website.
The days, weeks, months after your loved one acquires a brain injury can be very frightening and confusing. In many cases things have changed suddenly and it can be very difficult to cope with the changes to your life and the life of your loved one. It is very important that you get support and advice as early as possible.
Headway, the Brain Injury Association
Headway provides information and support to help those who care for people with an acquired brain injury and have a dedicated section for carers on their website. They have also launched an online community called Headway Health Unlocked so carers can chat and support each other online.
They have produced excellent booklet about caring for someone with a brain injury that gives information and advice on the early stages after a head injury, understanding brain injuries and their effects, becoming a carer, changing family relationships and looking after yourself.
Derbyshire Stroke Centre
Derbyshire Stroke Centre are a team of experienced stroke professionals, stroke survivors and carers, dedicated to providing the best possible support to those who need it.
The service supports people living with the long term and often complex challenges associated with stroke. It offers:
- respite services
- relaxation sessions and pampering days
- peer support
- advice and information
- a survival course for carers
You contact the service on tel: 01246 855350 or via the Stroke Centre website contact form.
If you're a carer it's important to get the right support in place for the person you look after as it can take the pressure off you. In most cases of stroke or brain injury care plans will be coordinated by the NHS service involved in the person's care.
It's also a good idea for carers to get a carers assessment which gives you the opportunity to talk about your own needs and access the support available. You may also be entitled to a Carers Personal Budget to pay for services to support you and help you get a break - such as a sitting service or equipment which makes things easier for you.
Our carers directory has listings of carer support groups and social activities where you'll be able to meet other carers. The directory also has details of practical services such as community transport (which is suitable for wheelchairs and will take people to medical appointments) and information and advice services.
You can also find details on services to help you look afer yourself as carer - whether that's help with protecting your health, practical things or emotional support. If the person you look after was previously in better health, you may find that it's hard to cope with your changing relationship now you've become their carer.
You may also wish to find out about welfare benefits and your rights as a carer.
You'll find lots more helpful information and advice on our website and Facebook page. If you need to speak to someone or to arrange a carers assessment, you can contact Derbyshire Carers Association on tel: 01773 833833 or if it's a general query you can use our contact form.
Other helpful websites
- Derbyshire Community Health Services - Brain Injury
- The Brain Injury Hub
- Brain and Spinal Injury Centre - BASIC (covers the Glossopdale area)
- Different Strokes
- Stroke Association
- The Brain Tumour Charity
- Encephalitis Society
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