When a close friend or family member is injured, your natural impulse will be to try and help them in any way you can. Sometimes, however, it’s not always clear how best to go about this. You want to support their recovery while helping them to maintain independence. You need to be positive for them as they come to terms with shock and trauma while struggling with your own emotions and anxieties. If their injury is particularly severe, it may be the case that life will never be the same again for either of you. Try not to get overwhelmed; instead, focus on these four main ways in which you can help someone close to you to recover from an injury.
1. Ensure They Get the Best Medical Care
People who have suffered a significant injury should be monitored by a medical professional. This may include doctors, physiotherapists, mental health professionals or other specialists, but it’s crucial that they attend all of their appointments and take their medication. If you are unsatisfied with the treatment or answers they have received, there are experts who can provide advice about claiming compensation such as The Medical Negligence Experts.
2. Be There for Them Emotionally
In addition to the physical pain and discomfort, they are likely to be dealing with complex emotions and possibly even PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). They may feel anger, anxiety, depression and possibly even guilt if their injury is impacting the lives of others. Let them know that you are there to listen to them. Try not to suggest that they should ‘look on the bright side’ or offer platitudes such as ‘everything will be alright’ or ‘I know how you feel’ as it could frustrate them further. If you are concerned about their mental wellbeing, you could suggest that they seek professional support. Visit mind.org.uk for more information on available services.
3. Don’t Let Them Rush Their Recovery
Many people who have suffered an injury find it difficult to accept what has happened to them, especially if the injury has had life-changing consequences. They may be in denial about the reality they are now facing and could try to push themselves too far. It’s crucial that they take the time to rest when in physical recovery, so their body has the time and energy it needs to repair itself. Some physical activity is certainly beneficial, but it may be up to you to help them see when they’ve done enough. Help them as much as you can in the small everyday tasks without robbing them of their independence. Little by little their physical strength should return, but you can help them avoid further injury by helping them until it does.
4. Help them to Rebuild a Happy & Healthy Life
Depending on the injury they have suffered, your loved one may need to make some changes to their lifestyle. For example, they may not be able to take part in sports or activities which they once enjoyed. This can have a negative impact not only on their physical health if they aren’t able to exercise, but also on their mental well-being. You might be able to help them to find new activities which they enjoy so they can focus on gaining new hobbies and skills rather than dwelling on what they’ve lost. If they are no longer able to walk or drive there may be a risk of them becoming isolated; help them to find alternative ways of travelling to ensure they can still get out and enjoy the world as much as possible.
Even a temporary injury may mean they are inactive for an extended time which could lead to weight gain, so try to promote a healthy diet while they recuperate. There are even some healing foods which aid in physical recovery and support our mental well-being.