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16 May 2018 | Comment | Article by Cari Sowden-Taylor

ABI Week 2018: Seven strategies for coping with brain injury recovery

Following discussions with our past and present clients, we have created a list of 7 strategies which may be useful in coping with brain injury:

  1. Allow yourself time to recover
    Each brain injury is unique and time should be taken to adjust following the injury. The healing process can be a long journey and it is often considered an endurance race, rather than a sprint. Focusing on small goals and celebrating progress can help but, there may be times when this can feel overwhelming, and so ensure that tasks are broken down into small manageable steps and set over a realistic period. It is often said that it can take 2 years for a brain injury to settle and to know whether there will be any long-term complications.
  2. Set a daily/weekly timetable
    Many of our clients say that after the acute stages have passed, setting a timetable can help to provide a structured routine and can reduce feeling lost and a low mood. It may help you to prioritise tasks and analyse things that you now find challenging. The timetable may, for example, include exercise, rest periods, meals, rehabilitation, housework and hobbies. Consistency is important, but you shouldn’t be afraid to modify it to changing circumstances.
  3. Keep a diary of your progress, activities and symptoms
    In addition to having a timetable, it may be helpful to keep a diary of the daily achievements, symptoms and milestones. Many of our clients say that it can be rewarding to look back and see how far they have come. If you are contemplating pursuing a claim relating to the events which led to your brain injury then your diary may help when it comes to preparation of witness statements. For further information about pursuing a claim call our Partners, Cari Sowden-Taylor or Ciaran McCabe who specialises in brain injury claims on 02920 391031 or email [email protected].
  4. Don’t be afraid to seek medical opinion if something isn’t right
    Experiencing unusual headaches or feeling unwell can be an additional worry. New or unexplained symptoms should be taken seriously and advice should be sought from your GP or treating clinicians promptly. If you pursue a claim, we will be able to put you in contact with specialist clinicians who will be able to help.
  5. Dealing with financial changes
    In most cases, there is likely to be a temporary or permanent change in financial circumstances following a brain injury, for example if the injury results in absence from work. In addition, dealing with bank accounts, mortgage lenders, utilities and/or investments may be a confusing and daunting process. The first step will be to consider whether you have capacity to manage your affairs. The GP or a treating clinician can often undertake a short assessment to determine whether you have the necessary capacity to deal with your financial affairs. If you do not, an application can be made to the Court of Protection to have a family, friend or professional to be appointed as a deputy to manage your financial affairs. Our dedicated Court of Protection Unit at Hugh James can assist in making the application to the court and Andrew Harding, a Partner of Hugh James, is a professional Deputy for in excess of 130 people, including brain injury survivors, who don’t have capacity to manage their affairs. For more information call 02920 391031.
  6. Rehabilitation helps to build strategies
    Rehabilitation will often focus on building strategies which can help to adjust to everyday life. It is worth investing time in building such strategies so that they become the norm. It can also help to promote independence. If a claim is pursued, we can help to arrange specialist neuro- rehabilitation for you to give you the best chance of making the best possible recovery.
  7. Accept help and lean on your support network
    Family, friends and therapists will want to help you make the best possible recovery. Inevitably, they will also have a lot to learn about brain injury and will be required to adjust to the new challenges which accompany brain injury. Often the difficulties you may face following an ABI may have an impact on relationships. As a result, friends and family may find it helpful to speak with specialist therapists and/or charitable organisations to learn strategies on how best to support you. Charitable organisations such as Headway, The Silverlining and The Child Brain Injury Trust can provide tremendous support to individuals and family who have been affected by brain injury:

If you believe that you have been injured as a result of someone else, contact our Partners, Cari Sowden-Taylor or Ciaran McCabe to find out whether you can pursue a claim. Our specialist solicitors understand the changes which can be brought about following brain injury and can help to arrange bespoke rehabilitation to enable the best possible recovery whilst at the same time, obtain compensation to provide security for your future.

Author bio

Cari is a Partner and Joint Head of the National Serious Injury Team, and specialises in representing adult and child claimants who have sustained life changing injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, limb loss and polytrauma following road traffic collisions, injuries at work and assaults.

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