Caring for someone with an injury

Impact of trauma on carers and family

For many people seeing a loved one in hospital can be a daunting experience. For some it's the shock of the accident, for some intensive care or the ward environment. This is a very normal reaction to a sudden and unexpected event.

Traumatic injury doesn't just affect individuals; it can transform the lives of entire families. Depending upon the severity of your relative's injury and its effects, you may have to make considerable changes to the way you live, such as becoming a part-time or full-time carer.

Whatever stage your relative is at in their recovery, stress and anxiety will have been a big part in your life recently. Even on discharge from hospital, a patient can face setbacks and frustrations during a long recovery period. In the AfterTrauma recovery app, there is a chatroom where both patients and carers can post about their experiences and connect with others with similar injuries and experiences.  You can download the app here.

Kerry's tips

Kerry's son suffered multiple, life-threatening injuries due to a crush injury at work, and his recovery was long and complex.  Kerry shares some of the things that helped her get through this very stressful time:

Early and ongoing communications and records – It’s a good idea if you or someone you know can set up a blog. This makes updating friends and family so much easier! Also it’s really useful to keep a diary of daily events, appointments, medications etc. You will without doubt not regret doing this further down the line and it’s never too late to start your diary

Professionals and therapists – be brave, don’t be intimidated, write down your questions because they are important to you and ask away!

Looking after yourself during the hospital stay - This is an overwhelming time. Look after yourself by taking short regular breaks, go for a walk, make a call, remember to eat and try not to become totally consumed by what’s happening

Patience and understanding - Try not to be upset or lose patience with the person you are caring for if they get angry with you. They don’t mean it they are just venting their frustrations. Take a deep breath or go into another room

Visitors – This is really hard to control so you may have to get a diary to plan the patients visitors. Remember your loved one will be feeling really tired and rest is important in the healing process.