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Caregiver concerns for loved ones with spinal cord injuries

If you are the caretaker for a loved one with a spinal cord injury, you already know the heavy toll it can take on your physical and mental health. You may have to pull dual duty as the caregiver and breadwinner, leaving precious little time to meet your own needs. Your own health can suffer as a result.

Your loved one's rehabilitation team can assist you with developing a realistic caregiving plan. You may have to make the difficult decision to place the SCI patient in a nursing home or assisted living center. In-home supportive services can be a lifesaver for SCI patients, so check into that as well.

Be willing to reach out to other family members for help, even if it is simply occasional respite care while you recharge your batteries. Remember to get enough rest and eat nutritional foods.

Look into SCI caregiver support groups online or in your area. They can be a great source of information about insurance policies and coverage.

Below are some tips for assisting them with their rehabilitation as well as helping to occupy their time productively.

-- Spend time together doing favorite activities like watching TV, listening to music, playing cards.

-- Encourage friends of your injured family member to visit and remain in touch.

-- Assist the injured one with developing and maintaining new skills, but don't do for him or her what he or she can accomplish alone.

As you can imagine, the rehabilitative and support services can really run up the medical bills. Especially if your family income is now halved, this can be a major concern. If your loved one was paralyzed in an accident caused by another's negligence or fault, it may be necessary to file suit against the party and their insurer to get the financial compensation you need to care for your injured family member.

Source: Webmd.com, "Living With a Spinal Cord Injury - Concerns of the Caregiver," accessed April. 17, 2015

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