When someone gets in a car accident and injures their spinal cord, the results are catastrophic. Even once the person recovers enough to come home to their family, they will need continuing care in their home. Often, the costs of care for these victims can climb into millions of dollars. Anyone planning long-term care for a patient of this nature should anticipate the following medical needs—and possibly more.
Primary Care Complications from Spinal Cord Injuries
In this situation, the patient and caregivers need to find a primary care doctor they can trust and rely on. You need a doctor who sees themselves as part of the team dedicated to helping your life become normal again. Respiratory infections and skin breakdowns, like bedsores, are all common afflictions a primary care doctor can help a patient both anticipate and treat. They’ll also be able to give referrals to specialists should more complex issues arise. Lastly, a good doctor will know about the spectrum of medications and be able to advise the patient about any counteractions, or prescribe new medicines as needed to prevent unpleasant side effects.
Depending on the extent of the injury, the victim may be paralyzed or lose bladder control. In this case, they will need to use a catheter to filter waste out of their body. This is one area where a feeling of disconnection is common among patients, so it’s important the urologist can help you understand how to use these treatments and still feel like yourself. Catheters are one of the most common sources of infection in a patient and need to be handled by a trained professional, even one who comes to the patient’s home. The patient should be able to consult with their urologist to try to regain control of their bladder, if possible. The urologist can also treat any sexual impairment resulting from the injury—again, as long as the patient feels they can trust the doctor with these issues.
Home Remodeling and Equipment
Depending on the extent of the spinal injury and the patient’s projected recovery, it may be necessary to make changes to the layout of their home. Things like lower counters, showers with chairs and support bars, and even wider doorways to accommodate a wheelchair will be necessary. Some will also benefit from special equipment like stair lifts or hospital beds in the home. All these things increase the injured party’s ability to care for themselves as much as possible—something every adult needs.
Anyone who suffers such a major injury should absolutely see a therapist. They have gone through a major life change in an instant. Often the injured person will feel anger or depression, especially if they were extremely independent before the accident. Learning to rely heavily on others and to find beauty in their new life will be a challenge. They need a guide trained in therapy to help them through it.
Ultimately, the goal is to restore as much normalcy to the patient as possible, but this can be difficult, to say the least. Planning in advance for these needs and consulting with professional planners and attorneys can help make everyone feel more in control of the situation and its costs. A professional life planner can certainly help you plan to afford these services and tools as needed for yourself or a loved one with this injury.
Have you been injured as a result of medical malpractice? Every Indiana medical malpractice lawyer at Christie Farrell Lee & Bell has experience and can help you explore your options.