My Week: Alex Power helps families with injured loved ones

The acute trauma support nurse at Headway recounts her week

Alex Power
Alex Power

Monday: I support families whose loved ones are in the acute stage of care after sustaining severe brain injuries, and a call has come in requesting help for a family whose daughter is in intensive care at a local hospital. I arrange to see them tomorrow. I then phone the families I work with to see how they are coping.

Tuesday: I do paperwork then go to meet the family from yesterday. Their 19-year-old daughter was viciously assaulted and is in a coma. Her parents are shocked and distressed. It can be hard to suppress my own emotions, but my job is to support them, giving them strength and information. When I leave two hours later, they seem a little calmer.

Wednesday: I am helping one of our support groups with an open day at another hospital. Medical staff, therapists, nurses, families and patients come along to learn more about brain injury and our work - or maybe it was just for the free chocolate on offer. Before going home, I visit the wards to see if any new patients have been admitted.

Thursday: Today brings a hospital planning meeting. The family of a 51-year-old man who sustained a severe head injury in a road traffic collision are being prepared for his discharge from hospital. He has made an excellent recovery, but still has problems with his thoughts, memory and concentration, and some physical disabilities. But given that he was not expected to survive, the family feels lucky. However, the rehabilitation package they were hoping for is not granted. It's frustrating for me and concerning for the family, but we will continue to work together with other agencies to find the best solution.

Friday: I speak to my colleagues who administer the Headway Emergency Fund. I am hoping it can help the family I met earlier this week by providing funds to cover some of their travel costs between home and hospital. Forms have to be completed and a decision should be reached in the next few days.

Headway is a national charity that supports people who are affected by brain injury.

Alex Power is an acute trauma support nurse at Headway

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