The human brain is the most complex organ in the body. It’s responsible for our memories, comprehension, language and our personality, giving us an insight into understanding the world around us, and determining how we interact with our environment.
As a result of this complexity, injuries to the brain are very unpredictable and the effects are often unique to the individual.
However, serious injury to the brain will almost always result in significant, extensive and profound effects for the injured person. The injury will usually impact on all aspects of their life, from their ability to work, their requirement for care, and interactions with others.
Members of the injured person’s family will also find that their lives will be dramatically altered, with things never returning to ‘normal’.
A serious brain injury will inevitably effect a person’s personality and this can have a significant effect on relationships and a person’s sense of themselves. There are often psychological consequences as well as the physical effects to contend with, and it’s not uncommon to hear other people say that the injured person was never quite the same after the accident.
Rehabilitation after a Brain Injury
Brain cells do not regenerate once damaged, and because of this it was thought that brain damage would lead to permanent changes.
But nowadays medical experts agree that there’s still scope for rehabilitation for those suffering from brain injury. It has become more widely accepted that the brain can adapt to damage, effectively learning new pathways to get around the damaged areas of the brain. This is known as ‘brain plasticity’. It’s thought that engaging in activity and early rehabilitation can help encourage the brain to find these new pathways, meaning rehabilitation is crucial when recovering from a brain injury.
Rehabilitation also helps the injured person come to terms with the changes in their life, and can assist family members in understanding how their loved one has been effected, and how best to deal with the symptoms that result from the injury.
Whilst it used to be assumed that recovery from a brain injury was time limited, and that any recovery would be made within 2 years of the date of the injury, recent studies have shown that rehabilitation can actually continue for many years.
The brain injury charity, Headway, advises that “…people may actually continue to improve for a number of years after brain injury. Indeed, many people say that they never stop re-gaining the skills that they lost following the injury.”
Rehabilitation services are provided through a number of organisations, including NHS Trusts, private providers and charities. This can be through inpatient care in a specialised hospital or care home, or alternatively on an outpatient basis, or through community support services.
In all cases it’s important to identify the rehabilitation providers that will best suit the needs of the injured person.
Headway are a registered charity that provide support to brain injury survivors and their families, and their website has a list of approved care providers.
The Cost of Rehabilitation
Where a brain injury has been caused as a result of an accident, or poor treatment, and a personal injury claim is being made, then rehabilitation will be a priority for the injured person.
When making a personal injury claim for brain injury, the compensation that is awarded to the injured person will certainly include the costs of rehabilitation. Where possible, an agreed plan to meet those rehabilitation costs should be put in place. That will usually involve obtaining interim payments on account from the insurers of the responsible person, identifying a case manager to work with the injured person, and arranging for a case plan to identify the injured person’s needs.
The provision of a long term care plan, with appropriate support for the injured person and their family, is crucial in ensuring the best outcomes for a person suffering from a brain injury. It is vital that such needs are assessed and addressed as soon as possible to maximise the chances of recovery, and obtaining the necessary financial means to provide that support should be a priority in the process of any claim made on behalf of the injured person.
If you or your loved one has suffered a serious brain injury in an accident, our Personal Injury Solicitors can help you. We can ask medical experts to review the injuries and identify what forms of rehabilitation are needed. No two patients are the same, so getting the right medical treatment as soon as possible is vital.
We can also work to ensure the cost of rehabilitation is included within a compensation settlement, to help support the victim and their family during the recovery process.