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Young man with trauma of the head

How to support an employee with a brain injury

Brain injuries are something that may affect you or someone you know at some point in your life. While severe head trauma is relatively rare, there were over 350,000 UK admissions to hospitals in 2019-20 for those with acquired brain injury. This encompasses everything from concussion to edema.

If an employee or colleague has suffered a brain injury, here are a few ways in which you can support them.

Causes of brain injuries

Some of the most common causes include:

  • Vehicle-related incidents – crashes and collisions involving motorbikes, cars, or bicycles. In fact, cycling accidents are one of the most common causes of concussions.
  • Falls – falls at home, such as in the bath or down the stairs are a particularly common cause of brain trauma. Falls off a ladder are also common, and this is a key concern for employers in industries such as construction where workers are operating at a height a lot of the time.
  • Violence – assaults of different kinds commonly cause head injuries.

Those who have suffered a TBI may find that they can seek compensation through a brain injury solicitor. This can be particularly helpful if they require time off work, are unable to work at all or need support in terms of care and home renovations to aid them in navigating the world more easily.

How to offer support

There are different ways to support your employee who has been affected by a head injury. By discovering the common causes, you’re already taking steps towards understanding how common this type of injury is and the ways it may impact your employee. Regardless of how the TBI has been acquired, make yourself and the wider workforce, particularly the HR team, available for support.

Understand them

Your employee will be going through a lot right now. They might be coming to terms with how their life has changed since the injury and they’re also likely to be experiencing the emotional and mental fallout.

Look out for a change in their mood. They may feel low and irritable which is common for those with a TBI so be sure to give them space where needed and listen to them regarding practical support that can make their transition back to work easier such as changing desk height. They may become forgetful or have memory loss so offering practical support such as allowing them to record meetings, taking minutes and helping them to create a daily to-do list could be a great way to help them to stay organised which will ensure that they do not feel overwhelmed with the workload.

Emotional support

Many people who have acquired a TBI will experience emotional and behavioural symptoms such as increased stress, irritability, depression and anxiety. To help them work through this you may look to offer them counselling and employee assistance programmes through your businesses’ HR team, while also training the wider workforce on sensitivity.

In conclusion, it is key to make yourself as aware as possible of what your employee is going through and assist them in any way possible to ensure a smooth transition in their return to work.