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Brain Injuries: Information for Spouses Following Brain Trauma

Brain injury not only affects the individual, but has profound effects on the entire family, especially the brain damaged victim’s spouse.

Studies show that caregivers of people who have suffered a brain injury may experience feelings of burden, distress, anxiety, anger and depression. If you are caring for a partner, spouse, child, relative or close friend with TBI, it is important to recognize how stressful this situation can be and to seek support services.

The American Academy of Brain Injury Attorneys recognizes that following a brain injury, attorneys have two clients to represent, the brain damaged individual and his/her spouse.

The spouse, an often overlooked victim in brain injury

Unfortunately, in brain injury rehabilitation, the husband or wife of a victim of brain injury is often overlooked.  Similarly, in the prosecution of a brain injury case, most attention is placed upon the brain damaged individual.  In reality, the spouse of a person with brain damage is also a victim and needs assistance.

Brain damage places a serious stress on marriages

The cognitive and emotional changes following a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or any type of head injury poses significant coping problems for the victim’s spouse.  The changes that develop following a brain injury may be permanent and can lead to significant stress on the marital relationship. Professional assistance including counseling and participation in brain injury support groups are frequently recommended for individuals whose spouses have sustained any type of brain injury, head injury or brain damage.

Possible changes you may observe in your spouse following a brain injury:

Brain Injury

The famous case of Phineas Gage depicting the railroad spike entering his brain.

  • Decreased memory
  • Dependency
  • Depression
  • Impatience
  • Decreased ambition and initiation
  • Irritability
  • Temper outbursts
  • Decreased self control
  • Inflexibility
  • Sexual disinterest or sexual preoccupation
  • Self centered behavior
  • Inappropriate public behavior

New roles for the care giver following a traumatic brain injury:

  • Household management
  • Parenting management
  • Income maintenance
  • Decision making
  • Caring for the injured spouse

Services available to family members following brain injury

Shana De Caro, Treasurer of the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, presents Susan Connors, Executive Director of the Brain Association of America, with 2010 brain injury prevention and education, endowment donation.

Shana De Caro, Treasurer of the American Association for Justice, Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, presents Susan Connors, Executive Director of the Brain Association of America, with 2010 brain injury prevention and education, endowment donation.

Counseling and assistance for spouses affected by a brain injury or brain damage should seek assistance even before their loved one is discharged from the hospital or brain injury rehabilitation center.  Different assistance is needed during different phases of recovery from brain injury.

Services that may be most helpful to you include in-home assistance (home health aides or personal care assistants), respite care to provide breaks from care giving, brain injury support groups, and ongoing or short-term counseling for caregivers to adjust to the changes that have come as a result of the injury. You also may need to ask your support system of family, friends and community members for help with your loved one’s care, so that you don’t get burned out.

Unfortunately, you may find that it can be difficult to find appropriate and adequate services for your loved one. It is important to know that you will most likely need to be persistent in your search for assistance. You should use your network of family and friends, as well as professionals, to get tips about available resources.

Academy brain injury attorneys can provide you with necessary assistance

Michael Kaplen receives the 2011 Public Policy Award at the Brain Injury Association of New York State 2011 Awards Ceremony for his advocacy on behalf of victims of traumatic brain injury

Michael Kaplen receives the 2011 Public Policy Award at the Brain Injury Association of New York State 2011 Awards Ceremony for his advocacy on behalf of victims of traumatic brain injury

Academy brain injury lawyers understand the frustrations that a spouse faces following a brain injury.  Our member attorneys do not forget you and your injury when prosecuting a law suit for an accident leading to traumatic brain injury, traumatic head injury and brain damage.