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How can a brain injury affect the entire family dynamic?

On Behalf of | Aug 5, 2021 | Personal Injury |

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are a leading cause of death and long-term injuries in Washington and across the United States. The Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA) estimates 2.5 million Americans suffer brain injuries each year.

TBIs often result from car accidents, falls, or violence inflicting devastating physical, emotional and financial consequences. These repercussions not only affect victims but close family members whose lives are also forever changed.

The enormous scope of TBI-related care

The FCA says over 5 million men, women and children live with TBI in the U.S. Each year, 80,000 to 90,000 people who suffer brain injuries require long-term care. These injuries include:

  • Cognitive effects: Memory loss, short attention span or difficulty solving problems
  • Physical effects: Inability to dress or shower independently, visual and hearing impairments and sensory deficits, such as not being able to taste or smell
  • Emotional effects: Change in personality affecting their ability to relate to others, such as increased aggressive or angry behavior

TBI victims cannot return to work or school in many cases, causing financial hardships for themselves and their families.

TBI impacts on caregivers

An estimated 44 million family members provide care for TBI victims in the U.S. The direct medical costs, including rehabilitation and lost wages, average over $60 billion per year. Once a loved one suffers a brain injury, family members assume multiple roles, such as:

  • Comprehensive caregiver
  • Medical decision-maker
  • Researcher
  • Psychologist
  • Family advocate
  • Interpreter

In most of these cases, family members become unpaid caregivers out of love and dedication. Unfortunately, additional support is often out of reach, such as in rural areas where rehabilitative or psychological services are limited or unavailable.

Care for the caregivers

Due to the devastating effects associated with brain injuries on victims and their families, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney when the negligence of others caused the injury. A knowledgeable lawyer will aggressively seek compensation for all expenses associated with a brain injury.

Besides financial difficulties, caregivers often suffer from stress, depression, anger and anxiety. The FCA suggests seeking services, such as respite care, support groups or short-term counseling. The group also provides additional tips on how to seek help for yourself while caring for your loved one.