It’s inevitable that a child suffering a brain injury will impact on every member of their family and almost every part of family life.
From the initial trauma, to the stresses of returning home, and the day-to-day strains of managing the household, the burden on the family can be significant. There may also be a considerable financial impact too, for example if a parent has to give up work to provide full- or part-time care or to enable frequent hospital trips, or to buy furniture and assistive equipment, or to make home adaptations to accommodate the child’s needs.
Relationships within the family may have to adjust to account for enormous changes in circumstances over a short space of time, and there are also likely to be times when parents may struggle to come to terms with what’s happened. They may experience feelings of shock, blame and denial, as well as a sense of mourning for the child they had before the change; they will worry about how other people will respond, and be concerned about the future.
All of this is perfectly normal, as is the fact that these feelings may change or evolve over a period of time.
The way that siblings react will vary enormously depending on their age, temperament and emotional maturity, and may change as the recovery process progresses. It is not uncommon for brothers or sisters to feel a combination of sadness and sense of loss just like the parents. They may also feel anger and jealousy if they feel they are not getting the same attention as before, or hurt and confused if they think they are being ‘kept in the dark’, and generally unsettled by changes to routines.
Look after yourself … ask for help
Evidence suggests that a supportive family environment can make a positive difference to a child’s recovery. It is extremely important that parents remember to look after themselves – physically and emotionally – and other children in the family at this difficult time and seek help and support if they need it.
You can find details of charities, support groups and other useful links by clicking here, but if you are concerned about anyone in your family, your GP may be able to help you find appropriate services.
We also work closely with Brain Injury is BIG, a registered charity for the families of people with severe brain injuries. They have a website, an online discussion forum and a telephone helpline so that connecting with someone who knows exactly what you’re going through is never too far away.
Visit the Brain Injury is BIG website here.
How can the Brain Injury Group help you?
If you’ve been affected by brain injury and need free legal or welfare advice, there are several ways to get in touch:
- Call us on 0800 612 9660 or 01737 852203
- Email us at [email protected]
- Complete this short enquiry form and we’ll get back to you