Looking after someone with brain injury

A brain injury can occur in various circumstances. This acquired brain injury (ABI) might be from from a lack of oxygen, a fall or accident or a disease. And it can change the person’s life forever as well as their friends and family. You might not realise but there is several types of brain injury.  Here are the main brain injuries, what might occur and what they can do about it when it does happen.

Hypoxic brain injury

One type of brain injury which occurs is a hypoxic brain injury. This tends to occur when the brain has lacked in oxygen for a period. Oxygen is so important for the brain to work and create energy. If this stops, the brain will stop working and damage can occur. This type of brain injury tends to be less obvious as it normally occurs when something else has happened to the body.

A lot of these types of injuries occur after a person has suffered from a cardiac arrest, has had a severe asthma attack or allergic attack, has smoke inhalation or has been choked or strangled. It can be hard to diagnose and once it has, they will be placed on a ventilator to help regulate their heart rate and get the right amount of oxygen to the brain.

Depending on whether they had mild or long hypoxia will make a difference to the long-term effects. If it’s mild, they might have problems with memory or light headedness. For those with more severe, they might struggle to communicate, have mood swings and trouble with movement.

Traumatic brain injury

Another type of injury to the brain is a traumatic brain injury. This normally occurs after someone has a blow or hit to the head. Whether it’s an accident at work, a car accident, a fall or an assault, it can lead the person with a brain injury to have significant effects on their life. For those with a mild injury, they may have some bruising or torn tissues while those with a more serious brain injury have life-changing complications.

For those with a mild brain injury, they might not realised they have a brain injury for the start. They might getminor symptoms at first such a headache, vomiting or confusion before things get worse within the next few days.Therefore, even with a minor head injury, it’s so important to get checked over straight away. For those with a more severe traumatic brain injury, they might lose consciousness or have a seizure.

They may struggle with severe headaches or have a personality change. The damage can differ depending on the brain injury with some people finding they have nerve damage such as a loss of visions. For others, they struggle with cognitive skills or may experience behavioural or emotional changes as discussed here on Mayo Clinic.

Caring for someone with a brain injury

For those caring for someone with a brain injury, it can be a tough and trying time. Their family member or friend might change significantly after this injury so it’s tough to see this change. The first thing is to work out a plan with the medical team and social services to ensure they can come home to an appropriate and safe environment. You can arrange rehabilitation for them which will help them, and they might have physiotherapy or occupational therapy to help their recovery. Go along yourself and become educated to ensure you can assist your family or friend at home with their recovery.

It’s always a good idea to remember to take care of yourself too. Whether you need to arrange respite or find counselling for yourself, talk to your GP who can assist you on finding the help you need when caring for someone with a brain injury.

Headway is a charity which offers support for carers such as groups you can go to where other carers are going through a similar thing. Having this support can help assist you on a day to day basis. Brain Injury is big is also a great resource for help and support if you are caring for someone with a brain injury. You can also find local support in our directory here.

Conditions & Illnesses

Keep up to date

Receive new posts and the latest information direct to your inbox