The time following a brain or spinal cord injury can be confusing, overwhelming, and extremely difficult to navigate. Quite commonly, a patient and his or her family are uncertain when it comes to what to expect or how to move forward. However, taking three simple steps will ensure that the patient and his or her friend and family deal with the situation as effectively as possible.
Step 1: Educate Yourself
Whether you are the patient or the friends and family of the patient, it’s extremely important to learn as much as possible about the injury, as well as potential treatmentoptions and long-term outcomes. The medical team that is overseeing the patient’s care is an ideal resource, and should be able to give you the answers you need. They will also be able to steer you toward additional resources and support groups that will have all the information you need pertaining to the injury.
Step 2: Focus on the Present
While it’s tempting to think about the future, focusing on the present is very important during the initial time following the injury. It’s not uncommon for a patient to take one step back for every step her or she takes forward. It’s important, during this time, to understand that recovery will take place at its own pace. Patience and support are two things the survivor will need much of at this time. While the survivor should try to be as independent as possible, he or she should not be afraid to ask for help when it’s needed.
Step 3: Prepare for the Future
Life following a brain or spinal cord injury will be significantly different than life before the injury. Focusing on the future and what it holds is a very important part of the healing process. This stage should include goal setting, determining long-term care needs, researching treatment and clinical trials, and finding support groups.