Redefining the ‘I’ in Identity for Headways’ Action for Brain Injury Week

With 350,000 people admitted to hospital with a brain injury each year, Headway’s Action for Brain Injury Week this year has a focus on how a brain injury can completely change someone’s life, sometimes profoundly in respect of relationships at work and at home. Although change can be inevitable and depend upon the severity of the injury, our clients have shown us repeatedly that with incredible resilience, determination and appropriate rehabilitation someone does not need to be defined by this and a “life re-written” may be different but still rewarding.

Our team of brain injury specialists take an integral role in supporting families to take those first steps towards a ‘new normality’ by providing guidance on access to the financial, physical and emotional support needed.

Jonathan Clement

“A traumatic brain injury can change everything someone would ordinarily take for granted. The impact can be wide-ranging often being both physical and psychological. Some signs or symptoms may appear immediately after the event, while others may appear days or weeks later. We have represented many clients who may not immediately recognise that their ability to concentrate, organise and communicate is due to the head injury they have sustained. This can impact the ability to work or return to education, requiring reasonable adjustments or leading to a career change. Changes to lifestyle can impact all areas of life to include social and leisure activities. However, as a society we are becoming increasingly inclusionary, and a brain injury is no longer a barrier to living your life to the full.”

Our team recognise that access to specialised rehabilitation services is crucial for optimal recovery after a brain injury. The selection of a rehabilitation unit should involve collaboration between the clinical team, the patient and their family. Despite the major changes a brain injury can bring, a life re-written does not have to be a negative one. Many of our clients have gone on to achieve incredible things such sporting achievements such as triathlons, equine success, public speaking in front of large crowds and successfully completing academic courses/degrees.

Some brain injury survivors may change after their injury but be unaware of these changes. It might be family, friends and others in the survivor’s life that notice the change. This can be challenging for the whole family, and it is important to be sensitive to identity change as well as cognitive factors when thinking about changes in self-awareness or ‘lack of insight’. Identity change is a difficult thing to experience when it is beyond our own control. The process of coping with this change will take time but there is life after brain injury.

“Family members play a key role in the rehabilitation process. Their long-term support and understanding contribute significantly to the patient’s well-being and recovery. A family member will often be able to provide valuable insights into someone’s character, choices and ambitions, as well the challenges faced in different environments. When a parent or partner must become a carer their relationship with their family member can change dramatically. Some relatives will have to give up or reduce their working hours to help care for their family member at the same time as experiencing significant financial pressure and a shift of responsibility. Someone can suddenly find themselves having to take on substantial additional responsibilities at home, such as household chores, food preparation, continuing to bring in an income and childcare as well as providing care and support to the person who has been injured. Headway can provide support to family members as well as those who have been injured.”

Financial support for 8-year-old following freak traumatic brain injury.

Whilst playing with his friends in a local playground, a large telephone pole broke and hit our client, causing a serve and life changing brain injury. After undergoing extensive neurosurgery, the CL Medilaw team helped our client, by working with the defendants, to fund a case manager, a physiotherapist, neuropsychologist and an educational psychologist to support his forthcoming transition to secondary school. Our incredible client has made a phenomenal recovery despite his brain injury and, with the money achieved from his case, has a positive and optimistic future. Read more.

How can CL Medilaw help people following a brain injury?

For many people, the challenge begins once they leave the controlled environment of the hospital. People can feel abandoned and can struggle to cope. Our brain Injury team appreciate the value of early rehabilitation and prioritise securing funding for rehabilitation as our first goal on a new instruction. The idea is to start supporting people and their families and carers to manage their recovery right at the beginning of their admission to hospital, to make it easier for them to continue once they are ready to leave hospital and go home. We do this by:

  • Instructing case managers who help our clients make informed decisions, be heard during rehabilitation, and play a role in the litigation process as their advocate if necessary
  • Secure an Immediate Needs Assessment where recommendations for treatment are made
  • Following those recommendations we liaise with the Defendant’s insurers to fund treatment under the rehab code
  • If funding is not agreed under the rehabilitation code, we support the client with seeking support for these recommendations via statutory services

If you wish to seek legal support following a brain injury or are unsure if you have a claim, contact us now for a free initial case review.

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