When a person suffers a serious personal injury, their life can change in a variety of ways. The most obvious impacts are physical: injury victims may be confined to a hospital bed for an extended period of time; they may require regular physiotherapy and rehabilitation; they may experience lingering or even chronic pain. Some injuries result in physical disabilities that fundamentally change the victim’s everyday life.
Beyond the physical impacts, serious injuries can lead to lasting emotional and mental challenges. Depression, anxiety, and hopelessness are sadly not uncommon in injury victims whose lives have been permanently altered by their accident. This is understandable; as we discussed in a blog last month, reintegration into society can be a daunting, even overwhelming task which demands great commitment and support.
Unfortunately, the emotional impact of serious injuries can often extend to those close to the victim. Family members, in particular, may feel overwhelmed or guilty as they adapt to new caretaking responsibilities. Providing emotional and physical support to an injured family member comes with pressures which are not widely acknowledged by the general public. Who, then, is providing care for the care-providers?
The staff at Toronto’s Runnymede Healthcare Centre includes social workers who work to address the mental challenges faced by the family members of personal injury victims.
“Our social work team helps patients and families who are in distress by restoring their coping skills so that they can regain control of their emotions, personal affairs, and most importantly, their health,” said Sharleen Ahmed, Runnymede VP of Strategy, Quality and Clinical Programs, in an interview with Hospital News. “Through assessment, diagnosis and therapy, social workers provide patient-centred care while also identifying and addressing the needs of family members.”
This work is critically important to injury victims’ chances for a successful recovery. When a family member suffers a serious personal injury, caregivers may suddenly be in charge of managing the physical and emotional health of two people. Especially in cases where the victim’s cognitive ability is impacted, responsibilities within a family may undergo a foundational change.
“In addition to guiding family members through their anxiety, we also understand that they face additional burdens in the form of grief, regret and guilt,” Susan McGrail, Runnymede’s Professional Practice Leader, Social Work, told Hospital News. “We listen to their concerns and provide the reassurance they need, when they need it most.”
The staff at Runnymede works to educate caregivers, provide guidance when making complicated decisions, and help families access the resources necessary to their loved one’s recovery.
“As with many other social systems, understanding how the healthcare system works is often complex for families, so we respond by providing the information they need,” said McGrail. “We help to raise awareness that our hospital is one step on the journey to recovery and that the ultimate goal of the healthcare system is to get patients back into the community.”
When you or a member of your family suffers a serious personal injury, experienced professionals like the team at Runnymede can simplify your recovery process. But unfortunately, they can’t handle everything: in some cases, a personal injury victim can help you access the financial resources necessary to ensure a full recovery. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, contact Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
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