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What should one expect when a loved one suffers a brain injury?

When a loved one suffers from a brain injury, it can be an emotional and overwhelming time for the injured person's family. Initially, they may feel tremendous relief that their loved one has survived what may have been a near-death experience. But then the reality of the seriousness of their loved one's brain injury may set in, and with it, many questions about what the future holds and how the family will cope with a patient who has suffered an extensive brain injury.

Once a Virginia patient has emerged from the most critical care that the ICU provides and begins his or her recovery, families may expect a quick recovery, or at least steady progress, but the reality can be quite different. Many patients may experience progress in some areas, to be followed by regression in other areas. This can be quite frustrating.

It is important for families to pay close attention to the medical care their loved one is receiving and how the patient responds to the treatment. Families should notice how a loved one's condition changes from day to day, as well as how the injured person responds to rehabilitation. Asking questions of the doctors and nurses, from simply how best to help a loved one, to questions about the extent of brain damage or medication side effects, can only help the patient. Bringing these questions and comments to the attention of a patient's doctor is essential, as the families often spend a tremendous amount of time with the injured person.

Families are often facing unfamiliar territory when a loved one is in a coma or suffers from brain trauma, but with the right preparation, families can provide a great deal of support to a loved one throughout the recovery process.

Source: tbirecovery.org, "In the Hospital, Out of ICU," accessed Sept. 20, 2015

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