When a loved one or spouse suffers from a traumatic brain injury, the responsibilities can feel overwhelming, especially in cases where the patient is hospitalized a long distance away from the family. The physical separation can be very stressful, and managing the logistics to join the patient can add to that stress.
If there are children in the immediate family, arranging for childcare becomes a big concern. Often trusted friends or family members will be willing to care for the children, if asked. In other situations, churches, employers, or social services can help with finding other childcare.
Deciding on a rehabilitation facility or a long-term care facility can be confusing. In most cases, members of the military will be assigned to a case manager who will provide information about available options. Civilians should talk to their health insurance provider about what facilities and services are covered by their policy. Those without insurance should seek advice from social services about programs to help with the costs of rehabilitation.
Legal concerns can add to an already stressful situation, particularly when the patient is not able to discuss those matters with family members. It’s important for the caregiver to be familiar with the patient’s will, advance directive, power of attorney, and other legal documents. In some cases, a guardian will be needed to oversee the legal and financial affairs of the patient. State sponsored social services providing legal advice and counseling are available in most cities to help with these sometimes confusing issues.
Financial concerns are often overwhelming after a loved one has sustained a traumatic brain injury. If the household relied on the patient’s income, and that income is temporarily or permanently stopped, the potential for financial problems is clear. What may not be as obvious is that if the spouse is needed as a caretaker and is unable to start or continue working outside of the home, that income may be lost as well. Information about disability programs for veterans and civilians is available through state and local government offices.