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Colorado brain injury patients have unique needs

Patricia M. Jarzobski

A recently released report suggests that brain injured patients and their families have a great deal of issues to consider in the aftermath of an accident or injury. The immediate concern is always stabilizing the patient, which is closely followed by a thorough medical assessment and prescribed course of treatment. After a period of time, however, the long-term prognosis becomes clear. At that point, patients and family members in Colorado will begin to focus on how to best address the continuing needs of the individual who sustained the brain injury.

Recently compiled statistics assert that the majority of Americans do not have health care coverage that will cover the cost of residential brain injury treatment facilities. As a result, as many as 244,000 brain-injured individuals end up residing in nursing homes. These facilities run the gamut in terms of living conditions, but they are designed to house the elderly. Very few are equipped to handle the unique needs of brain-injured patients.

A number of initiatives have been made to help those with brain injuries find long-term placements in facilities more suited to their needs. However, many of these programs have been shelved or have not been successful. In the end, patients and their families are often left frustrated and uncertain of what to do to ameliorate the issue.

As with so many problems, the best means of avoiding this type of scenario is to prevent a loved one from having to resort to a nursing home placement. For the majority of Colorado families, this means securing sufficient funding to ensure that their loved one's long term needs are met. In cases in which the brain injury was the result of the negligence of another party, a personal injury lawsuit can provide the answer. A successful personal injury suit can lead to damages for both past and future medical needs, including the cost of long-term care, when that care is medically required.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "Brain-Injured Languish in Homes: No Giffords Care," David Armstrong, Dec. 28, 2012

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