Memory Problems after Brain Injury
- AuthorRebecca Bennett
Memory problems are one of the most common issues faced by many of our clients who have survived brain injury. Coming to terms with this, and the effect it can have on day to day life, can be a real challenge.
Whilst there is no magic wand that can be waved to ‘cure’ the problem, there are many strategies that can be put in place to help cope with memory difficulties on a practical level.
Taking information in
In this factsheet on coping with memory problems, the brain injury association, Headway, provides some key pointers which can be helpful to consider when providing information to somebody affected by memory impairment. These include:
- As far as possible, remove or minimise distractions before starting on something that needs to be remembered
- Concentrate on relevant material. If possible, reduce the amount of information provided and concentrate on the essential elements
- Simplify information and written instructions. Divide the information into small chunks and consider information one ‘chunk’ at a time
- Ask for the information to be repeated back to you, in the individual’s own words, to ensure that the information has been understood
- Provide information ‘little and often’ and choose a time to go through new information carefully; fatigue and some medications can greatly impact on being able to take in and retain information, and information provided at the end of long, tiring day may be more difficult to take in than that provided when someone is fresh and alert
People often worry that relying on external memory aids might prevent or slow down the recovery of their memory, but there is no evidence to say that is the case. For many people with memory impairments, external aids can be a huge help.
As well as programmable alarms, calendars and other reminder features on modern smartphones, it is also possible to download various specific Apps designed for use by individuals who have suffered a brain injury, and which can help with all sorts of daily tasks, such as reminders for taking medication, reminders for taking breaks to minimise fatigue and general organisation such as shopping and ‘to do’ lists.
For those who prefer a slightly less hi-tech approach, keeping a pen and paper out and visible around the home to note down any messages can be helpful, as well as working from a diary for appointments and making daily lists.
Many people also find it useful to have a whiteboard in a prominent place with essential information written on it, so it is easy to find and seen regularly. A pill box can also be handy to ensure that any medication is taken at the correct times.
How can a solicitor help?
Suffering a brain injury is life changing for the individual involved and those close to them, no matter what the cause of the injury.
However, in some instances it is the case that the brain injury should have been avoided, those can include cases involving accidents as well as medical negligence, including birth injury and cerebral palsy.
In these instances the individual involved may contemplate a legal claim for compensation for the injuries suffered. It is essential that, in such circumstances, a specialist solicitor is instructed who is experienced in dealing with cases involving brain injury.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, a solicitor can ensure access to rehabilitative therapies, including private neuropsychological therapy, to help put in place strategies to help to cope with memory impairment. A solicitor may also be able to assist with obtaining funding to recruit support workers or a ‘buddy’ to assist day to day, if required, and to obtain input from an expert in assistive technology and obtain funding to put in place any aids or equipment identified that may help to make life a little easier day today.
Rebecca Bennett is an Associate Solicitor in our Injury Services department who, alongside Head of Department Matthew Owen, acts for and supports clients who have suffered head or brain injury as a result of medical negligence. Rebecca can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this article or would like further advice, please contact us here or telephone our Injury Services experts in any of our JCP offices:
- Swansea: 01792 773773
- Cardiff: 02920 225472
- Carmarthen: 01267 234022
- Caerphilly: 02920 860628
- Cowbridge: 01446 771742
- Haverfordwest: 01437 764723
- Fishguard: 01348 873671
- Pontypridd: 01443 408455