Advocating for your loved one with a brain injury is both exhausting and yet rewarding. You get thrown into this journey and it is literally sink or swim. Advocating is necessary to ensure that your survivor gets the right treatment, services and benefits. It can be intimidating at first to stand up to those who hold so much power. Here are four tips to help you:
- Research. The internet is key in helping you learn as much as you can about brain injuries, therapies, treatments, doctors and such. Remember every brain injury is as unique as the person who has one. However the more knowledge you have the better. It is my research that got Isabella Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment. That one treatment has made such a significant impact on her recovery.
- Apply early. Start trying to get benefits early knowing that most likely you will be denied at first. Appeals can take a while so the sooner you start the better. Always appeal decisions if denied. I have won several appeals and you may be able to as well.
- Same vision. Make sure that the medical and therapy team’s vision is similar to yours. There will be times on this journey that what you foresee and what the team foresees is different. Adjust your team accordingly. It is ok to switch providers. I even encourage it because that “fresh set of eyes” can make all the difference between moving forward and standing still.
- Speak up. Remember you know your survivor better than anyone. Ask questions, get other opinions and if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. You are the voice for your survivor.
On days when the battles seem never-ending look at your survivor. You played a big part in getting them where they are in recovery. I look at Isabella and I see how hard she fights to regain all that she has lost. Isabella is so brave in a world that is very scary for her. She is the reason I do everything that I do.
“The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.” Jane Goodhall
Guest Blogger, Kristin Olliney-Apruzzese, is the mother of 8-year-old Isabella, who suffered sudden acute encephalitis when she was just 4. Kristin’s bi-monthly blog, Mommy of a Miracle, talks about the trials and joys of raising a brain injury survivor.
Legal Statement: The information contained in this blog does not reflect the specific views of BIA-MA. This blog is published for informational purposes only. BIA-MA is not providing medical, legal or other professional advice with its publication.