The role of family caregiver may be suddenly thrust upon a close family member of a victim who has suffered a catastrophic injury. It quickly becomes clear that injury victims are not the only ones affected by a serious accident. Family caregiving can require individuals take on new, unfamiliar roles.
Complications of Catastrophic Injuries
Catastrophic injuries that are debilitating or disabling can result in a variety of complications.
For instance, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) could cause problems with:
- problem solving;
- attention; and
- decision making.
There could be communication and language problems as well, such as with talking or writing.
Paralysis from a spinal cord injury may necessitate use of a wheelchair. Family members may have to deal with complications stemming from bladder/bowel dysfunction or a ventilator to assist with breathing.
An injury involving the loss of a limb could require assistance while learning to adapt. Or if the loved one receives a prosthetic, he or she may need help with managing the device.
Depending on the severity of the injury, family members may need to become temporary or permanent caregivers. As a result, they may suddenly be responsible for performing or assisting with a number of tasks.
Role of a Family Caregiver
The extent and type of family caregiving that is necessary will depend on the extent and type of injury the victim has suffered. Help may be required for a few months, but if it’s permanent, it could mean a lifetime of responsibility, possibly requiring the family member to quit his or her job to become a full-time caregiver.
Some of the tasks of family caregiving may include helping with basic needs such as:
- brushing teeth;
- bathing; and
Family caregivers may be responsible for taking their loved one to doctor appointments or therapy sessions.
Other responsibilities of a family caregiver could include:
- administering medication;
- changing bandages;
- preparing food; and
- assisting with special exercises.
Since catastrophic injuries not only result in physical harm but psychological as well, the family caregiver may need to provide emotional support for his or her loved one, too. At the same time, a caregiver may start dealing with difficulties of his or her own, such as depression, stress and the burden of providing round-the-clock care.
Caregivers might benefit from helpful resources such as a support group (especially one specific to the type of injury the loved one sustained) or respite care in order to get a break or time off. Of course, between the medical expenses from the injury and loss of income from not working, receiving this type of help may seem impossible.
Legal Help to Recover Compensation for Long-Term Care
There could be legal options available if a negligent party was responsible for the injuries a loved one suffered. Filing a claim could help recover damages for the long-term care expenses a family is facing.
D.J. Banovitz can help families recover damages from a negligent party who has caused the victim’s catastrophic injuries. The compensation recovered in a claim may help cover costs related to long-term or permanent care provided by a professional or family caregiver.