may indicate problems with the facility.)
Can changes to the program be made if requested by a family member and if it is in the interest of the patient?
Is the facility clean and pleasant?
Is the staff professional and friendly? Do they seem to care about the patients?
What is the procedure for discharging the patient?
There are clearly many questions family members can and should be asking when considering a rehabilitation facility, and the list above should not be considered comprehensive. Your local hospital and community health centers should be able to provide you with a list of rehabilitation providers. Information can also be obtained on the Internet or through national health organizations.
How to Make Things Easier for Everyone
There are some things caregivers and family members can do to minimize stress on everyone: the patient, other family members, the medical team, and yourself.
If the patient is in the confused and agitated state, minimize his stimulation. This includes limiting flowers, television, visitors, phone calls, and even physical contact. In fact, a gentle touch can be extremely agitating to a patient in this state. Speak in a calm, slow manner and in simple sentences. However, do not talk down to the patient. Limit visits to the morning hours, when the patient may have the most energy. This applies to after the patient returns home, as well. Encourage visitors to briefly ask the patient how he or she is doing, then to move onto other topics of conversation. If the patient wants to talk about the injury, she will.
Let the medical team do their job. You may know the patient, but they know brain injury. You can do your research, make suggestions, and ask questions. Actually, we encourage that you do so. Just realize that your medical team is doing their best for the patient. Follow their recommendations and adhere to hospital rules. Ask each member of the medical team how and when she prefers to be contacted should you have a question. Ask who to contact in an emergency or if you have a question that