If you child or adolescent has just suffered a traumatic brain injury or other brain injury that requires inpatient hospitalization there is a great deal of information to learn and apply quickly while managing the stress of dealing with your child’s medical condition. Love, hope, and faith and support from others help parents and family members deal with all the stress.
There are many good resources for information available to the family. One excellent resource can be found at Craig Hospital – go to this web address -https://craighospital.org/resources/topics/traumatic-brain-injury The Craig Hospital resource covers 23 areas.
Here is brief summary of some issues to include in managing your child’s recovery.
1. Keep a file of medical and rehabilitation interventions. Include in the file what medications are used, what they are used for and how effective they are (including any negative side effects), type of rehabilitation therapies used (occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and recreational therapy), what they are targeting and how you can help , and psychological and psychiatric interventions.
2. Work with the discharge nurse and social worker on making plans for when your child will be discharged. Some resources to consider upon discharge include school resources to make accommodations and get assistive technology as needed, rehabilitation therapies, psychological support, application for a waiver, and social support.
A helpful resource for school re-integration is BrainSTARS (https://www.childrenscolorado.org/doctors-and-departments/departments/orthopedics/programs/rehab–physical-therapy/brainstars/).
Carrie Tingley Hospital inpatient and outpatient provides a full range of services including medical, psychological, and rehabilitation services. Dr. Mark Pedrotty is a rehabilitation psychologist that specializes in treating brain injury (505 272 4244 office) in children and young adults. Dr. Denise Taylor is a physiatrist who has expertise in treating brain injury (272 5201) and the rehabilitation therapy services can be reached at 272 5335. There are several rehabilitation therapy services available across New Mexico. A neuropsychological evaluation can be provided by UNMH (272 8866) or other neuropsychologists in the state. There might be a need to receive services out of state.
3. While managing all the details and stress of your child’s medical condition it is essential that you and other care-givers take are of yourself and maintain some life balance. Getting good sleep, eating well, fitting exercise into your weekly responsibilities, reducing some of the daily responsibilities, asking for help and graciously accepting offers for help can provide some relief over time. It is OK to ask the team for some professional support (including therapists, doctors, and spiritual officials). It can be very helpful for you, and for your child, to take a day off and allow others to watch your child. You can ask those who are helping out or responsible for your child’s care to call you if a problem comes up.
4. Communicating with friends and family about what has happened, what to expect when they see your child, and following any rules set up for the room is very helpful. The rehabilitation team can support you in talking to friends and family.
(These suggestions and references are provided by Dr. Mark Pedrotty, feel free to provide feedback to him at his email firstname.lastname@example.org)