ABI stands for Acquired Brain Injury. It refers to any type of injury that a person has sustained after birth, such as alcohol and drug related brain injuries, stroke and head trauma.
Unfortunately, brain injuries are common. Approximately 600,00 Australians have an acquired brain injury.
There are two types of ways a brain injury can occur:
Sudden onset: These are injuries that occur abruptly such as trauma, an impact to the head, stroke or lack of oxygen to the brain.
Insidious onset: Injuries that develop over time, including alcohol and drug abuse, degenerative neurological diseases. Some diseases include multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.
The main reason why people have an ABI in Australia is due to stroke. A stroke can occur when blood cannot travel to the brain due to a clot or bleeding. In Australia, it is estimated that 1 in 6 people will have a stroke in their lifetime and that 65% of those who have suffered a stroke are living with the effects of a stroke which limits their ability to carry every day activities without assistance.
The next leading cause of ABI is trauma to the head.
The effects of ABI
As every situation is different and ABI is a complex condition, it can be difficult to predict the consequences of an ABI for each individual. And depending on the type of ABI sustained the effects can range from mild to severe.
The brain controls every part of the human body. When our brain is damaged, other parts our body can also be affected as a result of ABI.
The areas in which a person suffering an ABI may experience changes include:
- Physical abilities
- Behavioural abilities
- Sensorial abilities
- Communication abilities
- Ability to think and learn
How to help someone with an ABI
It can be extremely difficult for family and friends to cope with the impact an ABI may potentially have on their loved one. While it can be challenging for families to adjust to these changes, there are some ways that they (the family) or the carer can help:
Learn more about ABI: This way, family members will have some knowledge about what has happened, and what potential effects may be.
Understand the slow recovery time: As ABI is a complex area of care, family members should be prepared that recovery may be slow.
Enlist the help of a carer: While family members may do everything they can to help, if they do not have the medical knowledge that carers do, it can be difficult to meet the needs of their loved one. This is why engaging a healthcare worker (carer) that is trained in this area may be beneficial and aid in your loved ones recovery.
Care1 are highly trained and experienced in working with clients who need Acquired Brain Injury support services. Our carers specialise in caring for people with ABI and also provide support to families and friends. If you would like more information about how Care1 can provide support to you, then please contact us on 1300 422 731.