When a family member or friend has been injured, it can have serious affects on those around them.
These can range from feelings of extreme worry about their future health, to practical complications if you previous relied on them for help.
Voice is here to help you, however you feel and whatever the challenges – talk to us today.
Emergency admission to hospital
Understanding what is happening
If someone close to you is seriously injured they will be taken to the accident and emergency department of a hospital.
In this type of emergency situation where medical care has to be provided quickly, you may feel you are in the dark about what is happening, which can be very distressing.
It is your right to understand what injuries your loved one has suffered, the treatment they are receiving, and why.
If you are uncertain what is happening:
- ask hospital staff to explain what is happening to you;
- it can help to write down any questions you have in advance so you don’t forget to ask them. Many people find they are forgetful at times of stress; and
- remember that the hospital staff are doing their best for your loved one, and are also under high pressure and stress.
On arrival, someone seriously injured in a road traffic accident may be taken to an area called the resuscitation room. This does not always mean that your loved one needs to be resuscitated. A standard assessment, which checks the patient’s airway, breathing and circulation, is carried out, along with any necessary further examinations.
There is always an accident and emergency doctor and a senior nurse in the resuscitation room. Further staff will help as required. If a patient needs an operation urgently they may go straight to the operating theatre. Or if a patient is in a very serious condition they are often taken to an intensive care unit.
Intensive Care Units and other specialist hospital facilities
What is an intensive care unit (ICU)?
An ICU is a department in the hospital that is specially staffed and equipped for constant and close monitoring of patients with serious injuries or illnesses.
What happens when a patient is taken to an ICU?
It can take more than an hour for doctors and nurses to assess the patient’s condition and attach them to the necessary equipment. It is normal to have to wait during this time.
You should always check with a member of staff before entering an ICU. It is common to have to wear a facemask to prevent the spread of bacteria and infection.
Your loved one may look very different from the last time you saw them. Their body may be bruised or swollen if they have suffered injuries. They may be attached to lots of equipment. The ICU staff will be able to tell you what to expect.
Can I touch my loved one?
Tubes and wires often surround a patient in an ICU. It is usually possible to touch your loved one but it is a good idea to check with a nurse first.
Can I talk to my loved one?
Patients in ICUs are often unconscious, at least during the early part of their treatment. This is often because they are being given medication to make them comfortable.
Patients who are conscious may appear sleepy or confused. A patient may be able to hear even if they cannot respond, so talk to your loved one and let them know you are there.
It is normal to feel upset at seeing someone you love in an ICU. It is understandable if you experience strong emotions or find it hard to cope. The staff are there to answer any questions you may have. You may also find it helpful to have someone with you who can offer you support.
Looking after yourself and dependants
It can be upsetting to visit an injured family member or friend.
But it is important to think about your own welfare too. Spending long periods at a bedside and in waiting rooms can be exhausting and you need to make sure you look after yourself in this time.
- make sure you eat and drink regularly and take breaks;
- do gentle exercise such as going for a walk somewhere restful away from the hospital – for example, at a nearby park;
- strong emotions at this time are natural and normal. It can also help to talk to someone about your feelings, such as a specially trained counsellor at Voice.
Explaining the situation to children
If someone who cares for a child has been injured, the child’s needs must be considered too.
No matter how seriously injured someone is, it is usually better to explain to a child what is happening, to help them feel involved, rather than keeping them in the dark.
Talking to children and allowing them to visit an injured person can help children come to terms with what is happening. Voice have staff who are trained to help children following traumatic experiences – talk to us to see how we can help.
Informing people about the accident
You may need to let people such as relatives or an employer know about the injury.
If you cannot find someone’s contact details, the police may be able to help. If the person in hospital lives alone, it may be necessary to inform a house insurer that their property is unoccupied.
There may also be everyday responsibilities that need to be taken over by others, such looking after children, elderly relatives or pets. Family, friends and neighbours may be practical sources of help and you should reach out to them in this time of need.
If an injured person is conscious and capable of good communication, consult with them before making any decisions.
Alternatively, we’re here to offer you the practical and emotional help you need at this time. Talk to us.
Coping if someone you love dies
If you know someone who has passed away as a result of trauma on the road, or dies following injuries they sustained in a collision, Voice is here to help you cope with your bereavement.
Visit our Bereavement section or speak to one of our team today.