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Managing memory problems post brain injury

20th May 2021

Managing memory problems post brain injury

Meena Akhtar, Paralegal in our Clinical Negligence team, looks at some techniques to help manage memory problems after a brain injury.

Traumatic brain injury can be indicated by the onset or worsening of a number of clinical signs, not least memory loss.

Many people who suffer a traumatic brain injury will suffer at least some loss of memory for events immediately before or after the injury.

Though troubling, there are some strategies and resources available to help improve the patient’s situation.

The brain is an important organ which controls the human body. It serves as the centre of the nervous system and plays a vital role in managing memory.

Memory refers to the process of acquiring, storing and retrieving information. All humans are given the ability to preserve and recover information they have learnt or experienced. However, this can be affected by factors such as a brain injury.

It is common for memory problems to occur after a brain injury as the damaged brain will find it difficult to organise or remember information. However, this is dependent on the severity of the injury. For example, a bump to the head can cause concussion which is a temporary injury to the brain and can cause short-term memory loss which may last for minutes or perhaps hours.

However, in more severe cases where a person may have been involved in a car accident which results in a brain injury, it can have long-term effects such as the brain being unable to remember new material.

As memory uses many skills, it is worth noting that different abilities relating to memory can be affected by traumatic brain injuries, with some abilities affected more than others. For example, after a brain injury, a person may have difficulty learning and remembering new information but may still be able to remember information from the past. Some short-term memory issues that are common in people with traumatic brain injuries are:

  • Unable to remember the important details of a conversation
  • Unable to remember where you have placed items such as keys, phone etc
  • Losing track of time
  • Forgetting all or part of what you read or what you saw in a movie

If the brain injury is moderate to severe, there is a higher chance of having more trouble remembering things from everyday life. Unfortunately, with this issue, research has found very few ways to restore the natural ability to remember and learn. There are medicines which may be useful and it is worth consulting a doctor to see what is available.

However, new memories can still be formed as a person continues with their life after a brain injury by using different strategies to use memory less and rely more on documented information.

Strategies

Although memory games and exercises will not cure memory problems, a person with impairment of memory can use strategies to assist in their day-to-day lives.

  • Adapt the environment – using a notice board to pin essential information to look at. The use of labels on items so that there is less need to rely on memory. Taking pictures of a life event.
  • External memory aids – using smartphones, diaries, wall charts, electronic organisers which can help limit the use of memory
  • Following a set routine – make notes of regular activities and do those activities in the same order regularly
  • Combining strategies to cut down the reliance on memory such as using external memory aids to make a note of what needs doing whilst making note of regular activities to help follow a set routine.
  • Improving general well-being – As memory problems can have a negative effect on a person’s emotions, it is advisable to talk to someone, whether it be a close friend or family member, or a helpline as it will enable the person to get reassurance and comfort which will put them in a better state of mind.

Resources

There are many resources that are available to support those that have had their memory affected by a brain injury. If you or someone you know has been affected by a brain injury, the following sites are available to seek help or obtain further information:

How can Higgs & Sons help?

As brain injury can be caused by a traumatic event or can be acquired at birth, the personal injury and clinical negligence teams at Higgs & Sons can help with claims ranging from road traffic accidents which caused brain injury to a child acquiring brain injury at birth due to negligence in care.

For further information or to enquire about making a claim, click here to contact us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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