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.
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.
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Informing the patient
The focus of family members at this time is typically the wellbeing of their loved one, and they may be reluctant to convey potentially upsetting information to the injured person. Conversations about the person’s condition, or another person’s death require sensitivity, and may be distressing for families.
It is advisable to discuss any concerns with the appropriate hospital staff who will provide guidance in this matter. It is usually preferable to tell patients any traumatic news (although they may forget) and at times, their reaction may be different to what is expected as a results of the brain injury.
Coping with stress in hospital
A brain injury has an immediate effect on the family as they battle a wide range of emotions while coming to grips with the hospital system.