- What is TBI?
TBI is defined as “damage to living brain tissue that is caused by an external or mechanical force” caused by: Accident, Assault, Fall, industrial or sports injury.
- How do I get a blue badge?
The “Blue Badge” scheme is in operation to facilitate parking for those with mobility difficulties. It is issued by your local council and is usually free of charge.
- How do I get a Social Worker?
This depends on the area where you live but your initial contact should be through the Social Services department of your local council to whom you may be referred by your GP or you can find the number in your telephone directory.
- How do I find legal representation?
Although in recent years there has been a big increase in the number of solicitors dealing with 'personal injury' claims, when it comes to seeking compensation for head injury we would always recommend choosing a firm of solicitors with a proven record of experience in this specialist field. Headway, the brain injury association, (phone: 0808 8002244) produces a list of solicitors with expertise in head injury litigation or you can ring the Head Forward Centre on 0161 434 2150 for information.
- Is there a cure for brain injury?
Those currently involved in neuroscience and the early evaluation and medical management of ABI are continually striving to improve the outcome of neurological damage, and as a result of these developments the number of people who survive a brain injury and go on to live a normal life span is increasing.
Advancements in pharmacology have also greatly improved the control of post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) and the disabling effects of post-traumatic stress symptoms. Nevertheless, despite these advances it would be unrealistic to claim that the consequences of damage to brain tissue can be ‘cured’ in the true sense of the word. Learning to adapt to a completely new situation can be the most challenging, but most worthwhile, objective for the individuals concerned - and also for those living and caring for them.
- What about finances?
There are also major financial consequences attached to TBI, particularly where the injured person has been the sole wage earner.
Although compensation awards for TBI have increased in number over recent years, those who are successful are greatly outnumbered by individuals and their families who will have to rely entirely on Social Security Benefits.
In many cases the uninjured partner will be forced to seek full or part-time paid employment, and this necessity creates a new problem – who will care for the head injured family member during the day time? In this situation the Head Forward Centre can offer advice, individual counselling and, if suitable, a caring environment where those with TBI can participate in purposeful and creative activities.
- What about the Family?
Throughout the stages of adaptation that have to take place within a family where TBI has occurred, role changes become inevitable and the family structure undergoes massive change. Where couples are living together in a stable relationship, the woman will often have to take on the tasks that were previously done by the man in the house.
Parents: Parents who have safely brought their children through childhood and adolescence may have to start the caring process all over again when a son or daughter with TBI returns to the family home to be cared for, and it often happens that youngsters in a family have to become the carers of their head injured parent.
Partners: Brain injury can produce changes in personality which may be extreme or subtle leading to difficulties in personal relationships. It is often the case that friends and relatives find it difficult to understand or accept that the injured person is ‘not the same’. This can leave the partner/carer feeling isolated and anxious. Meeting with other families and carers of those with brain injury and sharing these anxieties is helpful and has fostered the growth of family support groups such as Headway - the brain injury association and similar organisations.
- What are the effects of a brain injury?
It is important to remember that no two brain injuries result in the same range of disabilities, but some of the more recognisable consequences of TBI are: muscle stiffness down one side of the body; problems with balance, sight or speech difficulty.
The ‘hidden’ disabilities can include difficulties of memory, lack of concentration, tiredness, loss of hearing and sense of smell, post-traumatic epilepsy, mood swings, problems of a sexual or intimate nature, and difficulty understanding new or complex information.
Those with severe TBI may also be unable to organise their day-to-day activities, or/and may have unrealistic objectives or attitudes which make it difficult for them to predict or foresee the outcome of what they say or do.
- How are TBI injuries caused?
Road traffic accidents: 40-50%