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Spinal cord injuries can affect the whole family

If you have a loved one who suffered a serious injury to his or her spine and that injury left him or her significantly impaired, you, your family and the injured individual may all be suffering in a number of ways. It is normal to think about how the injury may impact the victim. Fewer Colorado residents tend to think about how spinal cord injuries can affect family members, particularly those who become primary caregivers.

The stress of caring for someone who has experienced a catastrophic injury can really take its toll. No one really understands how bad it can get until the injured is out of the hospital and no longer has medical providers there to handle everything.

The role of the primary caregiver

A primary caregiver's role generally starts during rehabilitation. Family members may attend so that they can learn what exercises are good to help their loved one heal. It can be a lot to take in.

After rehab, when the injured returns home, depending on his or her level of disability, a caregiver may have to be home full-time or part-time. A person in this position may have to do everything for their loved one, including:

  • Feeding
  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Giving medication
  • Transporting to medical appointments

It is a significant sacrifice for the caregiver, especially is he or she has to give up working and social relationships to take on this new role.

Take care of yourself

Many people feel that being a primary caregiver to a spinal cord injury patient means putting oneself last. This is not true. It is important to take care of yourself if you find yourself in this role. If you do not, burn-out will happen quickly, and it could end up causing you to experience health issues yourself. Ask for help if you need it.

Seek compensation for the victim and the whole family

If your loved one experienced spinal cord injuries due to the negligent actions of another person, he or she may be entitled to seek compensation for any resulting losses. Family members, too, may be able to seek relief for any damages they have sustained as well -- such as loss of income and loss of consortium, among others. Legal counsel can review your case and help you pursue any and all civil claims that are appropriate under the circumstances.

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