Caring for a loved one with quadriplegia

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2022 | personal injury |

Perhaps you can relate to others in North Carolina who have, at some point, received phone calls from local law enforcement officers, informing them that a loved one was involved in a motor vehicle collision. Has your family member suffered injuries because of a distracted or intoxicated driver? Helping a loved one navigate recovery can be challenging, especially if he or she suffered a catastrophic injury, such as paralysis.

Quadriplegia is the medical term that refers to a patient paralyzed in all four limbs. If another vehicle hit your loved one, his or her body may have been suddenly and violently jarred, causing a spinal cord injury. Learning how to provide daily care for a quadriplegic person can be both rewarding and a bit frightening, too.

Spinal cord injuries affect the brain

If your loved one has become paralyzed in a car accident, it means that his or her brain can no longer send the proper messages through neurological connections with the spinal cord that enable arms and legs to move. If a neurologist has diagnosed your family member with “incomplete” quadriplegia, it means that, in time, he or she may recover the ability to perform certain tasks.

Part of the care you provide will be to help your loved one repeat certain movements, so that his or her brain can eventually “remember” how to send the neuro information required to make the movement without your assistance. Incomplete quadriplegia occurs when the spinal cord is compressed or injured but not severed. A severed spinal cord results in “complete” quadriplegia, where function below the injury site ceases permanently.

Settling into a new routine at home

If a North Carolina motor vehicle collision resulted in a spinal cord injury for your loved one, he or she was probably in the hospital for an extended period of time. In the first days at home, you can expect there to be a period of adjustment, where your family member and you are settling into a new routine.

You’ll no doubt find that some days are better than others as your loved one learns how to adapt to a new lifestyle. If he or she was a physically active person before the collision that resulted in a spinal cord injury, it might cause him or her frustration and anxiety in coming to terms with the fact that he or she is no longer able to move his or her arms and legs.

If an issue arises that you don’t feel equipped to handle on your own

You shouldn’t hesitate to tap into local resources to help you care for your loved one. Your support network may include a medical team, occupational therapist, counselors, faith ministers and, also, legal advocates, especially if you plan to seek restitution for the damages that another driver’s negligence caused.