Issues surrounding the discharge of the brain-injured person from an acute care hospital.
Unfortunately, support systems in your community after discharge may be very difficult to locate. Programs which exist may have long waiting lists, or inadequate funding. It is often very difficult to locate doctors, or other professionals with an understanding of brain injury. It may be very frustrating after dealing with well-educated professionals in the acute care facility and rehab facility to suddenly find yourself without understanding or support.
Obviously, your first resource is the social worker involved in your case. If you are lucky, your social worker is involved in brain injury and is a member of your state brain injury association. If your social worker is not well-informed about the special needs of the brain injured person and the primary caregiver, you may need to educate them. Your state brain injury association may be able to help with educational materials or resource personnel.
It is important to become involved in your brain injury association. You can often get information on how to deal with the school system, social security or on locating resources near you from other members who have struggled through before you.
Some hospitals offer some type of support group; either for brain injured persons, or caregivers, or both.
There are new, innovative, support facilities developing across the country which provide options for daycare and community involvement.
Your church or local religious institution may offer some services such as transportation or daycare.
If you live in a small community, your options may be very limited. You may have to establish your own networks utilizing family and community resources. Examples would be having a neighbor who will do yard work once a week, or a relative who will take on the task of running errands on a regular basis.
Do not try to handle this alone. Brain injury is a far too common occurrence in our society and though it may seem that you are alone in trying to find resources and support; you are not alone. You may need an attorney to access some support systems; you definitely will need to utilize the resources available through the Brain Injury Association. Many national medical associations have lists of professionals who specialize in brain injury. We've included some of these in our support and resources pages.
We are encouraging individual states to establish their own internet lists on traumatic brain injury in order to coordinate services, resources, information on new legislation and create statewide "intranets" designed to better serve the public.
Anne offers some solutions she has found as a survivor:
The help I've got now most people know about--but may not think of.
I believe all these services that allow me independence have greatly aided the recovery of my thinking skills.
Caregivers should look carefully into finding affordable services to allow freedom for the newly brain injured so they can better regain their sense of self--when the survivor is ready.
Too much caregiver-care allows the injured to only learn to look to the caregiver for needs and thereby diminishes his outlook for recovery. The proper role of the caregiver is to see that needs are being met--by whomever.
I am single with no family--the preceding should be adjusted for married survivors. But if you want your spouse back--don't make all decisions. Let him choose his socks!
Please visit the advocacy section in Legal and Financial Issues for additional information regarding home care, rehabilitation and support systems.
Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
E-mail to: waiting.comWe are not medical professionals, however we encourage your inquiries regarding both legal issues and information on futher resources. Phone and email inquiries will be received by the staff of the Brain Injury Law Office, including Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
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