What can we do to help?
First and Foremost:
Take care of yourself.
Learning to manage stress
is the most important step you need to take at this time. While
your loved one is in the ICU, it is very easy to neglect your
health, your job and other family responsibilities. While we understand
that it is impossible to avoid stress during this time of crisis,
there are ways to cope with stress. Avoiding becoming exhausted
and irritable yourself may be the best way to help the patient.
Undoubtedly your life
has suffered an instant upheaval. Often with brain injury we are
not sure how long the crisis will last. This constant strain and
worry is not healthy for you.
Signs of stress
- Inability to sleep,
- Poor self-care,
- Poor appetite,
- Guilt or self-blaming,
- Feelings of loneliness,
- A sense of worthlessness,
- Excessive use of alcohol and/or medications,
- Not knowing where to turn for help.
In order to manage
stress, make a commitment to take care of yourself:
For Tips on Coping
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will we know the extent of the injury?
will the stay in the ICU be?
long does recovery take and what can we
we go from here?
- Eat properly. A healthy diet will help your body deal with stress.
- Get Enough Rest. In the early days of crisis, your body will run on
"nervous energy", which will eventually run out. You
must take time away from the hospital to rest. Arrange to have
other family members contact concerned friends and relatives
so that the moments you spend away are not spent giving constant
- Let Others Help.
When someone offers to help, accept
the offer. Be specific about how the person can help, either
at home or in the hospital.
- Express Your Feelings.
No one expects for you to go through
this alone. You may find it helpful to keep a journal of your
feelings. You may wish to make note of questions, things you
need to do, what your concerns are. Be sure and utilize the hospital
staff to answer your questions and concerns.
- Be Kind To Yourself.
Many people in your situation have
trouble reading or following the plot of a movie, yet you have
countless hours of waiting to fill. Activities like puzzles,
video games, needlework, etc. may help fill the time without
requiring too much concentration. Take a break away for a walk,
or lunch with a friend. Sometimes a few minutes out of the hospital
can make you feel refreshed and recharged. Ask the staff about
the location of courtyards, lounges and other hospital facilities
that may give you a break from the ICU waiting room.
- Pace yourself. Keep in mind that brain injury recovery is a long
process which will require great endurance on your part. Getting
adequate rest during the trauma stage will save your resources
for your part in rehabilitation. During the initial stages most
of the patient's needs are being met by the medical team, later
on the family takes a larger role.
Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
E-mail to: waiting.com
We 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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