The Economic and Societal Impact of Brain Injuries

The Economic and Societal Impact of Brain Injuries
The Economic and Societal Impact of Brain Injuries

Brain injuries are life-changing events, and a levelling experience for anyone unfortunate enough to suffer them. According to head injury charity Headway, there is a hospital admission for an acquired brain injury (ABI) every 90 seconds on average in the UK – each of which is a devastating personal and familial event.

Indeed, the impacts of brain injuries stretch far beyond the immediate injurious impacts endured by patients. Secondary impacts can see brain injury victims suffering additional mental illnesses separate to their physical symptoms, but both the physical and mental consequences of brain injury can have wider-reaching consequences for households, finances and even the country. What are the economic and social impacts of brain injuries?

Healthcare Costs

The first economic impacts you might associate with brain injury relate to healthcare. Brain injuries can cause myriad life-altering after-effects, whether bringing about physical disability through paralysis or reduced motor control, or causing cognitive impairments that frustrate the living of a normal life. Whatever the after-impacts, there are rehabilitation and care costs to bear in mind.

We are lucky to still have a National Health Service which renders many treatments and ongoing rehabilitation efforts essentially free – but even with this gift, there are ancillary costs. Where physical disabilities result from brain injury, quality-of-life alterations may need to be made to a patient’s home; new needs may also require the hiring of a care worker or nurse to tend to daily needs, particularly where family cannot spare the time to do so.

Brain injury claims can often be enough to lessen the financial load of such expenditures, but there will always be ongoing costs – which can be enough to completely change the financial trajectory of a household or family.

Impact on Families and Caregivers

Speaking of which, there are emotional tolls associated with managing a brain injury, and not just on the part of the patient. Brain injury sufferers often have new needs resulting from their injury, needs which must be met by loved ones. These needs can fundamentally change relationships, particularly where partners or spouses must take an authoritative position with respect to patient bodily functions or behaviours.

The pressure on loved ones to provide care, often around the clock, can be enough to inspire stress and burnout – permanently impacting relationships and risking chronic mental health conditions in the process. This is to say nothing of the financial impacts associated with keeping a household afloat for a brain injury survivor.

Comprehensive Support Systems and Resources

These impacts are proof positive that dealing with brain injury can, so to speak, take a village. Support networks are necessary and non-negotiable when it comes to protecting the sanctity of a household, and can also be indispensable for helping gain access to otherwise expensive resources.

Local support groups are excellent sources of energy for those caring for brain injury survivors, but brain injury charities can provide more tangible support in the form of additional care assistance, quality-of-life home alterations and respite care.

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