Supporting Your Loved One After a Head Injury in a Nursing Home

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A head injury is difficult for individuals of any age, but when an elderly person suffers a head injury in a nursing home, the impacts are often multiplied, resulting in diminished quality of life. While nothing can undo the injury or erase the physical harm, providing the loving support that an elderly family member needs can help them reach their maximum medical improvement and help them enjoy the best quality of life possible.

Why Are Head Injuries in Nursing Home Residents Often More Severe?

Medical studies show that the effects of anti-coagulants commonly prescribed to the elderly as well as the natural changes in the aging brain combine to leave elderly individuals more likely to experience severe traumatic head injuries after a fall, bump, or blow. Just as the rest of an aging person’s body shrinks as they age, the brain also shrinks. This leaves a greater amount of space between the brain and skull, leaving more room for movement which results in greater trauma during a jolt. The blood vessels also thin and become more fragile, so they are more prone to tearing and bleeding.

Head injuries occur in nursing homes due to a variety of causes, such as poor patient monitoring, defective equipment, balance and coordination problems, and abuse. Over 80% of traumatic brain injuries in those over age 75 result from falls, making this the fastest-growing demographic for brain injuries today. If you believe your loved ones injury was a result of neglgigence, contact our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys in Louisville today to learn about your options.

What Can Family Members Do To Help an Elderly Loved One After a Head Injury?

Many elderly victims of brain injuries suffer a swift decline due to a diminished quality of life. Family members can help minimize the impacts of the injury by providing their aged loved one not only with medical care but also stimulating activities such as visits from family members, conversations, walks outdoors, music, and exposure to loving pets like dogs and cats. All interactions help to rebuild connections in the injury victim’s brain. Helpful interactions to support the elderly after a head injury include the following:

  • Ask their medical providers for guidance in helping them reach their maximum medical improvement through repetitive tasks to rebuild neural pathways
  • Encourage rehabilitation exercises
  • Give them as much independence as they are capable of rather than doing everything for them
  • Be patient with changes in moods or behavior, even if they exhibit unusual anger or irritability
  • Find ways to overcome communication barriers such as through devices for this purpose
  • Read aloud from their favorite books, magazines, or newspapers
  • Leave reminder notes in helpful places to overcome their memory problems
  • Provide positive feedback and encouragement when they complete a task
  • Celebrate their accomplishments
  • Encourage other family members to visit

Support An Elderly Loved One With Patience and Encouragement After a Nursing Home Head Injury

Keep in mind that you may have to tell your elderly family member the same thing many times due to the problems with short-term memory commonly associated with brain injuries. You may also have to exhibit patience if the loved one tells you the same story over and over.

It’s important to understand that no two brain injuries are alike just as no two people are alike. Ask your loved one’s medical providers for tips to help improve their condition or to make them more comfortable and content. Above all, ensuring that the loved one knows they are loved, valued, and supported is the best way to help them enjoy a better quality of life during their remaining time with their family—this is especially important if they suffered neglect or abuse in the nursing home where their injury occurred.