Planning for the future

It is essential to consider a plan for the life of a seriously injured person. Most of those who suffer serious brain or spinal injury are young, and the probability is that, following their accident, they will be looked after by family, usually parents or spouses.

The burden on family carers is high, and there is a real risk that they will not be able to continue to cope with all the stresses and strains of looking after their loved ones. In the case of parents, or any family carer who is significantly older than the injured person, it is likely that they will pre-decease the patient, thus depriving him of what may well have been a long-established pattern of care to which he has become accustomed.

Many other changes are likely over the years, and they should all be considered and foreseen, wherever possible, by the legal and medical team, and discussed in detail with the injured person and his family.

The one thing which is certain is that both the patient (assuming that he has a significant life expectancy) and his family will get older, and that this will have an impact on the way in which they all manage to cope. In order to create a plan which will cover all foreseeable eventualities, one has to consider every aspect of life; treatment and rehabilitation, accommodation, care, transport, equipment, leisure and therapies.