Serious injury lawyer and Regional Personal Injury Manager Lisa Gunner is a specialist in brain injury claims.

Here she shares her advice for supporting those suffering from a brain injury.

 

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), a head injury is the most common cause of death and disability in people from the ages of one to 40 in the UK. 200,000 people are admitted to hospital every year with a head injury, with a fifth of those having a skull fracture or an injury to the brain.

Thankfully many of those admitted to hospital recover fully but some will suffer ongoing symptoms affecting their everyday life. Unlike other serious injuries, such as spinal injuries or amputations, brain injury is usually a hidden disability. This means it is not immediately visible to those the injured interact with.

Hidden difficulties may include problems with:

  • Memory
  • Concentration
  • Attention
  • Problem solving
  • Controlling emotions
  • Problem solving
  • Fatigue
  • Use of language.

Brain injury sufferers may also have difficulties controlling their behaviour and act in an unpredictable or unexpected way. They may behave inappropriately without realising and may lack insight into their own difficulties.  

The different parts of the brain are responsible for different functions. The most common injuries I come across when dealing with brain injury compensation claims are to the frontal lobe. This is the area of brain which controls our ability to make decisions, plan, impulsive control, reasoning and cognitive processing.

It is important to realise that brain injury affects people in different ways, and regardless of the severity and area of the brain injured, the effect can vary significantly from person to person. That variation makes it challenging to work out the best way to support someone with a brain injury.

The following are some examples of ways that I have come across during my work to support someone with a brain injury:

  1. Take time to try and understand the challenges being faced - is it memory, fatigue, information overload, or a combination of different challenges?
  2. Fatigue, concentration, and memory are common issues, so breaking information or bigger tasks down into smaller sections can help.
  3. Where possible, provide support to achieve a task, rather than taking over and completing it on their behalf.
  4. Provide time for the person to think and consider information. Summarising or repeating key points can help.
  5. Allow the person time to put their point across and to find the correct word.
  6. Consider written prompts or reminders perhaps on phones or tablets.
  7. Try reinforcing and repeating information.
  8. Try to understand and avoid things that trigger emotional or behavioural outbursts or fatigue. For example, crowded places with too much noise can be difficult for someone with a brain injury. This means a supermarket with the bright lights, people whizzing around with trolleys and noise can prove challenging.
  9. Consider that fatigue affects memory, concentration and behaviour and so timing of events or tasks needs consideration.
  10. Structuring the day so there are built in rest breaks can be helpful.
  11. Try to look out for warning signs such as yawning, not participating in conversation, slurring of words or short temper. These may be signs that the person is struggling and may need a break or some quiet time.
  12. Don’t forget that a brain injury can often impact on a person’s confidence and mental health.

Brain injury is an invisible but often devastating injury that changes the life of the survivor and their loved ones. At Thompsons, we help support many brain injury survivors by securing compensation that includes care packages and rehabilitative support from those responsible for the injury.

To discuss making a brain injury claim for yourself or a family member, please request a call back and we will be in touch very soon.