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Living With Brain Injury

Living With Brain Injury: A Guide for Families and Caregivers

Sonia Acorn
Penny Offer
Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 190
  • Book Info
    Living With Brain Injury
    Book Description:

    An injury to the brain can affect every aspect of a person?s daily life. Healthcare and legal experts from Canada and the United States guide you through the process of rehabilitation and help you learn how to live with brain injury.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5968-1
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-2)
  3. 1. Introduction
    (pp. 3-6)
    Penny Offer

    If you are like most people, you don’t think very much about your brain and its miraculous ability to enable you to do everything you do – moving, talking, planning, and reacting appropriately, to name only a few of people’s daily activities. Until, if you are unlucky, you are told that you, a loved one, or friend has had a brain injury. It often takes months or even years before you truly understand what this means and how it will affect the rest of your life. The brain is a very complex structure that is not fully understood. This means that...

  4. 2. What Is a Brain Injury?
    (pp. 7-19)
    John Higenbottam

    What is a brain injury? Is there a difference between a head injury and a brain injury? Can people be born with a brain injury? Are the effects of brain injury temporary or permanent? What are mild, moderate, and severe brain injury? Do you have to lose consciousness to have a brain injury?

    Most importantly, in this chapter we will answer a number of key questions about what brain injurymeans– to you, to your family and friends, and to society.

    Brain injury happens when the brain’s tissue is damaged or is not able to function properly. Anything that can...

  5. 3. A Survivor’s View
    (pp. 20-33)
    Charles G. Ottewell

    I am writing this Journal of my experiences during and after my high school rugby accident in the Spring of 1983. To help myself and to help other people who have suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury or a closed head injury, and to assist family and friends around the brain-injured person, so you can try to understand just what the injured person is trying to cope with in their new world-life.

    First I will try to explain what I was like prior to my accident. I was seventeen (17) years old, had a lot of friends, was one of the...

  6. 4. After the Brain Injury – The Rehabilitation Team
    (pp. 34-40)
    John Higenbottam

    When a brain injury occurs, the immediate priority is damage control. This is theacutephase of treatment and takes place in hospital. Persons with serious brain injuries may require critical care, including life support for vital functions – breathing, nutrition, and excretion of wastes. Drug therapies are used to control infection and to minimize cell damage and swelling of the brain. If the brain injury is due to stroke or bleeding within the skull, steps are taken to stop the bleeding and relieve the pressure to the brain.

    The clinical professionals ordisciplinesinvolved in the acute phase are mainly...

  7. 5. The Hospital – and After
    (pp. 41-48)
    Rick Brown

    The day has finally arrived. The brain-injured survivor is at yet another turning point in the long journey called ‘recovering from a brain injury’ – the survivor is finally leaving the hospital. This event will most likely be a continuation of the emotional roller-coaster ride that began with the accident. Survivors may be experiencing mixed feelings about discharge – feelings ranging from happiness to fear, from anxiety to depression.

    On the one hand, survivors may feel as though it is all over: they have made it through the toughest part and things will how return to normal because they are going home....

  8. 6. Case Management
    (pp. 49-55)
    John Simpson

    We have come to expect that when a member of a family becomes ill or has been injured in some kind of incident, that person will see a doctor. There will be some treatment in an emergency department, a stay in hospital, a course of treatment and/or surgery, and perhaps rehabilitation, after all of which life will return to normal. When there has been a relatively minor injury or an illness, we see our family doctor, who will make the appropriate referrals, again, after a period of time life will return to normal and we will carry on with school...

  9. 7. Long-term Adjustment Following Significant Brain Injury
    (pp. 56-69)
    Mary Pepping

    Once the initial flurry of emergency room and critical care has subsided, people with significant brain injury* usually enter a period of acute hospitalization. Then they are either discharged home with some professional assistance, or are transferred for some days or weeks to an in-patient rehabilitation unit.

    Generally, after consistent improvements in mobility and communication are demonstrated, brain-injured survivors return home, where they receive some amount of follow-up and out-patient rehabilitation. Over time, as the involvement of professional staff begins to taper off, survivors and their families find themselves faced with the burden and challenge of coping with lifelong residual...

  10. 8. ‘Rime’ of the Survivor
    (pp. 70-75)
    David Blanche

    What can a survivor of brain injury tell someone about this trauma? The best way to describe what it is like to have a brain injury is to introduce my constant companion since 1973 – an albatross.

    ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ by Samuel Taylor Coleridge is an epic poem about a ship sailing between Africa and South America that is caught in the doldrums. The wicked old captain, the ‘ancient mariner,’ and his disgruntled crew are as restless in spirit as their ship is calm.

    After several days a bird with a huge wingspan, an albatross, appears and circles...

  11. 9. Psychosocial Effects of Brain Injury
    (pp. 76-85)
    J. David Seaton

    Philosopher William James once wrote that ‘no more fiendish punishment could be devised than that one should be turned loose in society and remain absolutely unnoticed by all its members.’ It is doubtful that he was referring to someone with a brain injury when made this statement in the 1890s; even so, it well describes the struggle many brain-injured individuals experience in trying to regain a meaningful life. Until recent years it was usually the individual’s physical limitations that were seen as the main obstacle preventing reintegration into the community. It is now recognized that psychosocial deficits present the greatest...

  12. 10. Children and Adolescents with Brain Injury
    (pp. 86-100)
    Marilyn Unger

    This chapter will briefly review some important information about children and adolescents with brain injury and the process of coping with their rehabilitation. Brain trauma is the leading cause of death in children and the most common cause of acquired disability. Approximately 1 in 500 children per year in the United States sustain a brain injury that results in a change in level of consciousness, or a physical abnormality of the brain, or both. Before the 1960s most children died after a serious traumatic brain injury (TBI). In Canada and the United States, as well as in other countries, advances...

  13. 11. Couple Issues After Brain Injury
    (pp. 101-110)
    Patrick Hirschi, Claudia Berwald and Rick Brown

    Brain injury is not an isolated incident in one person’s life. It’s a life-transforming event that affects not only the injured person, but that person’s family, friends, and workmates. Everyone is a survivor. Possibly, the most profound impact is on the spousal union. This impact varies in nature and intensity, depending on where the two people are in their life as a partnership, but it is always powerful. Young couples without children are spared some of the challenges that couples with young children must face. Couples whose children have left home face some different issues as well.

    The relationship that...

  14. 12. Brain Injury and the Family System
    (pp. 111-125)
    Carroll O. David

    Traumatic brain injury changes the survivor’s view of both the self and the world. The effects on the family are equally great. For both the survivor and the family, recovery is a long process that lasts for years – and for many, a lifetime.

    More often than not, survivors will deny the effects the injury is having on their behaviour, thus making it difficult for the family to respond in helpful ways.

    Over time, both the family and the survivor can change their expectations to fit what is possible; they can find new ways to relate, and learn how to make...

  15. 13. Legal Issues Following Brain Injury
    (pp. 126-143)
    R. Brian Webster

    This is an introduction to legal issues, some or all of which will likely face survivors of traumatic brain injury or their families. I raise these issues and discuss them briefly with the expectation that readers will perhapsnote themon first reading and then consider them again as the need arises. Discussion of these issues could fill a textbook by itself, so obviously this is just an introduction – something to make you aware when the issues require decisions or actions about which you must consult a lawyer. I can’t overstate the importance of this principle. This is at most...

  16. 14. Leisure and Recreation
    (pp. 144-154)
    Anne Sulzberger and Charles Killingsworth

    Leisure plays a vital regenerative role in our lives. By participating in leisure or recreation, we express our individuality – social, physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual. The activities we pursue reflect our personal values and beliefs; for example, an individual who enjoys being physically active will express this through activities such as sports, walking, and exercise. These pursuits may or may not involve others, depending on the personality and needs of the individual. Awareness and experience of leisure directly affects quality of life. Few of us find fulfillment solely from our work. More typically, work is what allows us to pursue...

  17. 15. The Family as Caregiver
    (pp. 155-162)
    Sonia Acorn

    No longer are health professionals the only providers of care. Today, with an increase in the number of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, and the growing number of elderly, many people find themselves in the role of ‘caregiver.’ This is evident in the vital role that family caregivers play in providing care to survivors of brain injury. However, those who provide care to a family member should be aware of the long-term effects that caregiving has on their own health. It is important for them to take steps to safeguard their own physical and emotional well-being, while providing much-needed...

  18. 16. A Second Look
    (pp. 163-168)
    Charles G. Ottewell

    This entry to my journal is a follow-up to chapter 3; it was written when I was twenty-seven years old, ten years after my brain injury. I wrote this entry to try and help explain the continuous fight and effort I have and still am battling. I hope this chapter will help whoever reads it to make their transition more understandable as they continue to improve from whatever head injury, brain injury they are recuperating from.

    Life is still somewhat of a struggle for me. I still have many of the samefrustrationswhich I encountered years ago such as...

  19. Appendix A Resources and Assistance
    (pp. 169-172)
  20. Appendix B Glossary
    (pp. 173-176)
  21. Appendix C Suggestions for Further Reading
    (pp. 177-180)
  22. Contributors
    (pp. 181-182)