Riders may be at risk for spinal cord injuries in serious motorcycle accidents. The location and severity of the damage will determine the extent of injuries. Those that occur above the first thoracic vertebrae may result in quadriplegia, which affects all four limbs. The loss of function may be partial or complete.
With this type of severe injury, a family member may need to become a caregiver. Providing home care for a quadriplegic may be an essential part of his or her overall care. Below is a brief guide to providing care, though caregivers should work closely with the patient’s doctor and other care staff.
Essentials to Caring for a Quadriplegic
It’s important to work with medical professionals to better understand your loved one’s specific needs. The goal is always for the individual to gain some level of independence. The usefulness of some tips will depend largely on whether the patient’s paralysis is complete or partial. Those with complete paralysis may require additional assistance performing many of the functions listed below.
For those with partial loss of function, a shower chair or bathtub lift can make using the bathroom easier. Some wheelchairs include a toilet and may even be able to enter a shower, which can be helpful for those with greater loss of function and mobility.
In addition to decreased mobility within one’s home, quadriplegics must contend with decreased mobility outside of the home in terms of public or private transportation and just getting around public buildings.Aids that could help with transporting a quadriplegic include a ceiling-mounted overhead lift system, sliding board or manual hydraulic lift on wheels. Which works for your loved one will largely depend on the patient’s level of paralysis.
There are a variety of adaptive tools one can use for everyday motions, like utensils. This augmented cutlery may help those with partial loss of function scoop and eat food. Bowls and plates with a plastic guard may help patients scoop food without knocking it off the plate. Long straws can help make drinking easier.
While a person with quadriplegia may be able to feed him- or herself, administering medication most likely will fall to the caregiver. If the person is taking several different kinds of medicines, it’s a good idea to keep a medicine list. Also consider using a day of the week pill container for easy organization. Reliable timers may also help the caregiver and the patient remember when it’s time to take the medicine.
Other Important Tips on Caring for a Quadriplegic: Physical and Emotional
One of the important physical care health issues that a caregiver has to consider is the bedsore. It’s important to make sure the person isn’t sitting or lying in the same position for extended periods of time without movement. When bedsores develop, they can become infected.
There are different techniques for lifting the patient. Be sure to talk with medical professionals about the proper way to do this so as to avoid injuring not only your loved one but yourself as well.
In terms of emotional care, there may be a lot of issues to work through, especially for your loved one whose life has suddenly and drastically changed. It’s not uncommon for patients to experience anger and/or depression. Not taking it personally is important. It might be helpful to seek professional counseling for your loved one.
Keep in mind that providing home care can take a physical and emotional toll on the caregiver as well. It’s important to let others help when possible and to find time to do things you enjoy. You might also consider joining a support group with others who are going through the same experience.
An Attorney Can Help if a Motorcycle Accident Causes a Spinal Cord Injury
There are a lot of costs involved in the care of someone with quadriplegia, such as the initial treatment and ongoing medical expenses:
- doctor visits;
- assistive devices;
- caring essentials;
- home modifications; and
- some may require home nursing on a daily or weekly basis.
But motorcyclists who suffer severe injury may be unable to continue working. This type of injury can be financially devastating. Injured motorcyclists and their families can pursue compensation damages related to the paralysis and the motorcycle accident.
An attorney can determine the motorcyclist’s right to pursue a claim and the types of damages that may be available for the financial, physical and emotional losses. Call Gacovino, Lake & Associates at 800-550-0000 to set up a consultation with an attorney.