A life-changing injury is a serious injury that requires a dedicated recovery period and committed care. If you are looking after a loved one through a life-changing injury you are most likely torn between wanting to provide the best care possible while still allowing them space to rest and recuperate.
If you are spending time and energy caring for someone else it is also important to remember to look after yourself. If you are worn out and spreading yourself too thin you can easily become stressed, which is not helpful for you or the patient.
The best way to avoid burnout is to be supportive but keep it simple. Here are our tips for straightforward and effective ways to care for a loved one who has suffered a life-changing injury.
Offer emotional support
A life-changing injury can cause emotional turmoil for the patient as they struggle to deal with what their future may look like. In these circumstances, particularly if stress cannot be released through exercise, it is helpful for the patient to have someone to listen to them as they vent their fears, frustrations, and questions.
Simply being a good listener can have a huge positive impact on the recovery of the injured person.
Support them through medical appointments
Medical jargon can be confusing and overwhelming, especially when you are in pain and uncertain about how an injury will affect your future. You can support a loved one through medical appointments by asking if they would like you to attend, ensuring all their questions are answered and that they receive clear, comprehensive responses.
If the patient would like you to attend for support but would prefer you did not speak on their behalf, you can assist by taking notes so that your loved one has something to reference at a later date.
If the patient would prefer to attend appointments alone you can help them by driving them to and from the clinic, scheduling and keeping track of their appointments, and reminding them of their next visit to the doctor.
Help them to relax
Recovery is contingent upon getting enough rest and not trying to be too active too quickly. As a carer, you can look after the household tasks that often cause injured people to feel the need to get back to normal faster than they should. Vacuuming, washing and changing sheets, cleaning the dishes, shopping for groceries, and helping the injured person to bathe and dress can all take a large amount of stress off the patient and help them to focus their energy on healing.
Suggest some lifestyle changes
People with life-altering injuries often have limited mobility, which can have a negative physical and psychological impact.
To this end, it is important that adjustments are made to the patient’s lifestyle so they can avoid excessive weight gain and muscle loss while they are less active.
Helping to prepare a healthy eating and exercise plan is one way to be supportive. Work together to come up with realistic and achievable goals and set them up for success by cooking some healthy meals that can be frozen and reheated at a later date.
Keep track of medications
Someone who has suffered serious injuries is likely to be prescribed medication to help them heal or cope with pain. It is incredibly important that medication is taken as directed and when an injured person is recovering they may have difficulty remembering or lose track of time if they are resting during the day.
One of the most helpful ways you can care for a loved one through a life-changing injury is by managing their medications for them. This involves filling scripts, creating a schedule if multiple medications have been prescribed, organising pills into a dispenser, or applying dressings or topical treatments.
If you are caring for someone who would like to pursue a personal injury claim, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers on (07) 4052 0760 who can talk you through the process.