Families are entitled to ensure that their family member’s best interests are being served. Most hospitals provide support for families to obtain information and make decisions about a patient’s care. The person providing this support is often a social worker, who will advocate for the patient on the family’s behalf.
Adjusting to the experience
For family members and close friends, this may be one of the most stressful and emotional times in their life. People must look after their own emotional and physical health if they are to care for the patient and other family members. Support groups may be available at the hospital.
Synapse also runs support groups, both in person and online. Call 1800 673 074 to find out more.
Informing the patient
Conversations about the person with brain injury’s condition (or another person’s death) require sensitivity and may be distressing for families. The focus of family members at this time is typically the wellbeing of their loved one, and they may be worried about sharing upsetting information with them.
It is recommended families discuss any concerns with hospital staff who will provide guidance. It is usually preferable to tell patients any traumatic news although their reaction may be different than expected or they may forget quite quickly as a result of their injury.
Coping with stress in hospital
The time in the hospital can be an overwhelming experience, but there are things that you can do to minimise stress.