When your loved one has suffered a major burn injury, feeling a sense of helplessness is perfectly normal. Caregivers often feel anxious and overwhelmed by the complexities of care, both physical and emotional. If you are at a loss as to how to help a burn patient and what kinds of support your loved one may need, rest assured that you are not alone. Many available resources can help you as you care for your loved one during his healing journey.
What can I expect when my loved one comes home from the hospital?
A lot of burn survivors struggle with coping once they return home from the hospital because they do not have the same kind of support system they had in the hospital. It can be hard to adjust to “normal” home and work life. In addition to coping with physical pain and limitations of their injuries, they may be going through a host of emotional issues, feeling insecure about their appearance, and suffering from a deep sense of loss.
Everybody reacts to trauma differently. Both adults and children burn survivors may have issues such as nightmares, flashbacks, depression, anxiety, and wanting to withdraw from people and activities. Children may show regressive behaviors such as thumb sucking and bedwetting, too.
You may notice changes in your loved one’s personality. The entire family will probably feel somewhat awkward during the transitional phase after their loved one returns home. It is not uncommon for every member of the house to experience feelings of anger, helplessness, fear, resentment, guilt, and shock.
What are some ways I can offer support?
There are many ways you can offer support at home for your loved one who is still healing from a burn injury. Sometimes one of the best things to do is simply ask, “What can I do to help?” Let him know you love and care for him. You can also help with physical tasks your loved one cannot manage on his own yet, like grooming, housework, or running errands, as well as help with dressing changes, administering medicine, etc. Other ways you can offer support include:
- Listening to your loved one and reassuring him that he can talk about his feelings or vent whenever needed
- Helping him to stay on as close to a regular schedule as possible (school, meals, activities, etc.)
- Staying alert to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (depression, flashbacks, or severe anxiety that does not subside) and calling a professional for help
- Avoiding passing judgment on your loved one’s reaction to the trauma and not taking changes in behavior or outbursts personally
Keep in mind that caretaking can take its toll on you physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Be sure to take time for yourself and take care of your own needs; your loved one will understand.
Is there anything else I can do?
Make sure to take advantage of all available resources, from family counseling to school reentry programs. Burn care centers can offer a lot of continuing support once your loved one arrives home, so call your loved one’s burn care team for help or references.
You may also want to look into your legal options regarding the burn incident. If the burn injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to help your loved one recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering which may help take that weight off their shoulders.
Call us at 844-549-8774 to speak with one of our lawyer referral specialists who can help you find a lawyer to answer your questions and help with your case.