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Special concerns for parents of children with brain injuries

Due in part to the large variety of potential symptoms and the delayed onset of negative medical consequences, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) remain some of the hardest severe medical injuries to diagnose and treat.

As difficult as the condition is to diagnose and treat when it presents in adults, it is even more difficult and expensive in young children. Parents with children who suffer brain injuries after an accident or illness may struggle to know how to care for their children, particularly if their children don’t verbalize their symptoms.

Parents often don’t realize the severity of a brain injury and the potential cognitive impacts it has until their child is substantially older than they were at the time of the initial injury.

Cognitive deficits may not be obvious for years

Brain injuries can affect many different areas of your life, from balance to information retention. If your child was young at the time of the injury, it may not be obvious at first that the TBI has left them with cognitive impairment. It may only be once they move to higher grade levels at school that their struggle to retain information becomes obvious.

Unlike many other medical conditions, there is no way to reverse or cure brain damage caused by a traumatic brain injury. Although your child can learn to cope with their symptoms and both you and the school can support their future academic achievement, your child will likely permanently require some degree of accommodations after a TBI.

You and your spouse may not both be able to work full time

The more severe a brain injury is, the more care the victim requires to make it through daily life. You may need to help them with showering, dressing, eating and using the bathroom. Even if you were both successful professionals previously, either you or your spouse may need to consider staying home as a full-time caregiver for your child indefinitely.

Providing care yourself can mean a substantial reduction in your family’s income, although care from a family member will be safer and arguably more affordable than skilled nursing services around the clock.

Your child may never achieve true independence

One of the most bittersweet aspects of successful parenting involves watching your children grow up and leave the proverbial nest. Unfortunately, for children with serious brain injuries that impact their cognitive function, motor skill, coordination or personality, independent living may never be an option.

Your family may have to assume the costs of caring for your child for the rest of their natural life, which could amount to an exorbitant amount through the decades of their existence. Thankfully, personal injury laws allow you to hold a driver or business accountable for their actions that cause a severe injury in someone else.

If you worry about covering the costs associated with traumatic brain injury care for your child, a lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash or the facility where the accident occurred may help you provide the care your child needs.

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