How to manage an acquired brain injury

There are thought to be around 1 million people in the UK living with an acquired brain injury, whether due to a traumatic injury, stroke, brain tumour or a variety of other causes.

This type of brain injury can have a number of serious symptoms, including physical, cognitive and behavioural effects that need careful management to ensure people with acquired brain injuries have the best possible quality of life.

Effects of an acquired brain injury

There are various potential effects an acquired brain injury can have and exactly what care and support the person with the injury needs will depend on the type of symptoms they are dealing with.

Physical issues

These commonly include problems with:

  • Weakness and paralysis
  • Movement and co-ordination
  • Dizziness and balance
  • Speech and communication
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Epilepsy
  • Incontinence
  • Sexual dysfunction

Dealing with these issues can involve a number of strategies, including medication, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy.

Cognitive issues

These can include problems with:

  • Memory
  • Decision-making
  • Concentration
  • Recognising people and objects
  • Problem-solving
  • Planning and organisation

These issues can usually be dealt with and some improvement achieved through therapy, while an occupational therapist can work with you/your loved one to devise strategies to work around these cognitive issues. The support of a family and friends is also often essential.

Behavioural issues

Typically this can include problems with:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Mood swings
  • Impulsiveness
  • Loss of empathy

Sessions with a counsellor specialising in people with acquired brain injuries can be highly beneficial. It is also important that friends and families are patient and supportive, while also protecting their own wellbeing.

Practical issues

There are a number of problems with day-to-day tasks that an acquired brain injury can cause, including:

  • Difficulty with self-care, such as cooking, eating and washing
  • Inability to work
  • Loss of driving licence
  • Problems with social interactions
  • Loss of independence

Again, a trained counsellor can help with the emotional impact of these practical issues while an occupational therapist can help devise practical solutions to work around some of these problems. However, for some issues, such as loss of a driving licence, support from family, friends and professional carers is likely to be essential.

Making sure people with acquired brain injuries get the support they need

While the NHS usually does a great job treating people with acquired brain injuries in the early stages of recovery, many people need on going care and support in the months and years after the injury occurs, with some needing help for the rest of their lives.

In many cases, much of this care and support has to be paid for privately, and along with paying for medication and special equipment, as well as dealing with loss of income and other costs, coping with an acquired brain injury can be very expensive. This is one of the reasons many people in this situation choose to pursue compensation.

If you are considering a claim for brain injury compensation, it is worth speaking to a specialist brain injury solicitor. They will have the experience and expertise you need to identify whether you are likely to have grounds for a claim and then guide you through the entire process, giving you the best chance of securing a fair settlement.