A traumatic injury does not just affect the person with the injury. It affects everyone who is important in your life such as family, carers and friends. They can experience a mixture of emotions and worry which include feelings of loss, anger, guilt, embarrassment and anxiety. It is common to feel overwhelmed by the continuous sense of responsibility and have concerns about the injured person (Geurtsen et al, 2010).
Families and Carers
Family and friends play a key role in recovery, rehabilitation and readjustment process and it is important to be aware that:
- Recovery following a traumatic injury is a slow process.
- Setbacks can occur and progress is often made in fits and starts
- It can also be difficult to know when is the right time to step back and let the individual try to do things for themselves
Family, friends and carers have a great ability to motivate and encourage, especially when rehabilitation and progress slow and challenging. They can help the case manager and other professionals gain a clear picture of how the injury has affected day to day life as it is often hard for the person with the injury to see this for themselves.
How roles and relationships can change?
Family and friends may become:
- A carer, providing either hands on support or prompting to complete daily living tasks.
- Coordinator, responsible for organising aspects of care and attending various appointments.
- An advocate, ensuring your thoughts and feelings are represented.
- Primary decision maker, which can cover all aspects of life
- Financial, Welfare guardian or be appointed Power Attorney
- The breadwinner
The list is endless. However, these changes are not permanent. A priority for CMS is to work with families to enable roles and relationships to return to what was normal for you. We understand how difficult this journey is. Recovering from a traumatic injury can really test relationships and we work hard with the individual, their families and carers to help strengthen, rebuild and maintain their relationship.
How CMS can help?
- Encourage you to look after yourself, take time out to reduce stress
- Arrange respite
- Inform your GP you are caring for someone
- Social work carers assessment
- Access benefits you may be entitled to
- Regular phone calls and meetings to discuss your concerns and offer advice
- Arrange one-to-one counselling or group support
- Provide training to you and other carers, family members or friends