Victims of life-changing brain injuries are facing new challenges as their carers grow old and need care themselves, warn serious injury solicitors Coles Miller.
Many brain injury victims are young, simply because they are more likely to survive severe accidents. So they tend to be cared for by their parents.
But what happens when the victims’ parents become elderly, require care and are no longer able to look after their injured adult children?
“This is becoming an ever more urgent issue because Britain’s population is ageing and because the total number of brain injury victims increases with every passing every year,” said Coles Miller Partner Adrian Cormack, a solicitor specialising in serious injury cases.
His comments come as Action For Brain Injury Week (May 8-14 2017) highlights the plight of survivors, carers and families.
Mr Cormack said: “The victim’s siblings are the obvious choice to take over the caring role when the ageing parents need care themselves but this is not always possible.
“And even when it is, the siblings – like their parents before them – will need expert help and support to look after their loved one.”
A brain injury solicitor helps the family to claim injury compensation to fund their loved one’s treatment and care – but the lawyer’s role does not end there.
After winning the brain injury case, the solicitor plays a key role in helping the family to co-ordinate long-term care. Mr Cormack and his colleagues have been helping some clients for nearly 20 years.
Victims and their families may need help to plan 24-hour care or to carry out disability adaptions to their home. They often need to set up a personal injury trust to safeguard their compensation payments.
Mr Cormack said: “The effects of a brain injury can be very subtle. Victims may have good days and bad days.
“Experience has taught us that much of this depends on routine. Any disruption to the person’s routine can be distressing for them…much more so than for someone who has not suffered such an injury.
“This is why something such as moving house to be cared for by a sibling can have such a disproportionate impact on someone with a brain injury – and why continuity of support is so important,” he added.
Action For Brain Injury Week 2017 is run by the charity Headway. Its chief executive Peter McCabe said: “People often associate brain injury with impacting cognitive or physical skills, such as memory, speech or movement.”
But brain injuries could also change personalities and behaviours. These could have “a dramatic impact” on relationships and support networks, he added.
“We often hear people tell us that their husband or wife is ‘not the person they married’ or that the person they knew ‘didn’t really return from the hospital’,” said Mr McCabe.
Not every injury victim experiences these negative effects. Some talk of positive change and “a new me” – a term which Headway has adopted for Action For Brain Injury Week 2017.
For more information, contact Coles Miller Partner Adrian Cormack, 01202 355695.