Usually, traumatic and vascular brain injury occurs suddenly. It is likely to have long-term effects, and thus becomes a reality the patient’s family must learn to cope with. Managing brain injury sequelae, especially when there are behaviour consequences, involves a psychological challenge for both the patient and their family.
At the Menni Network we give support and advice to the family during the rehabilitation process, and help them adjust to the new situation and find ways to restore their temporarily disrupted wellbeing.
o What happens to my relative and why?
The family of an individual with brain injury must understand what happens to them. Some consequences of the trauma are easier to manage than others. We frequently see people with part of their body paralysed, but we find it difficult to understand why somebody seems to have forgotten how to speak their own language or are unable of controlling emotions or reactions. Our therapists explain to the family the symptoms and prognosis of their relative’s medical condition and help them find the way to mitigate the consequences of brain injury.
o Patient care and management training
An individual with brain injury needs help from their family. Family members have to move them from the toilet seat to the wheelchair, help them with secretion suctioning, and bathe them in a specially adapted bathroom. Caregivers must be trained so that they can prevent accidents, avoid unnecessary stress, and become confident and competent. We train them before they have to engage in patient care tasks on their own.
o Psychological support to immediate family members and friends
Primary carers of a brain-injured relative can suffer from psychological distress, sleeping disorders, or other health problems, in part due to the responsibilities they take. At the Menni Network we are aware that these problems may arise, and we offer family members medical and psychological support.
o Family therapy
Developing skills to confront and cope with the disability. It is important to identify the problems and resources of the patient’s family. Family members need to develop special skills to handle conflicts and manage negative emotions. Ideally, they should engage in gratifying activities and keep their social life going.
o Adapting the home
Home adaptations may be necessary when taking care of the brain-damaged individual. We provide technical assistance in this area too.