Today is the first day of Headway’s “Action For Brain Injury Week” which runs from 28 September to the 4th October 2020.
This is a campaign being run by Headway, a leading brain injury charity. The event was previously due to run in May 2020 but was postponed because of Coronavirus.
The aim of Action For Brain Injury Week is to raise awareness about brain injury and challenge the misconceptions formed about the often hidden aspects of brain injuries. Specifically, the theme for this year’s ABI week is memory loss.
Throughout the course of this week, we will be discussing various topics that relate to brain injury and memory loss.
What is a brain injury?
Acquired Brain Injury refers to any brain injury that has been caused since birth. There are many potential causes of Acquired Brain Injury, which may include a tragic incident at birth, or from a medical condition such as a stroke or tumour.
Traumatic Brain Injury is an injury caused by trauma to the head from an external force, such as a fall, a road traffic accident, or some other blow to the head.
Brain injury can cause a number of devastating side effects, one of which is memory loss.
What is memory loss?
Memory is the brain’s ability to store and retrieve data or information when needed. It is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future actions or recalling past events.
With someone who has suffered a brain injury, memory is affected because there are numerous structures within the brain that are involved in memory, and incurring an injury to any of these parts can impair memory performance. Remembering involves the stages of taking in information, storing it and retrieving it when needed. An injury to those parts of the brain responsible for these stages can lead to poor memory and memory loss.
What is amnesia?
Amnesia is the lack or absence of memory. This is where the person will not be suffering from memory loss but suffers with failure to some part of the memory system. The term ‘amnesia’ is used to describe any kind of memory disorder. In some cases, the individual may only have memory impairment.
The loss of memory from the moment the Brain Injury was incurred is called post-traumatic amnesia. It can last from a few minutes to several months depending on the severity of the injury. If the person cannot remember the events of the brain injury, then they likely never will. This is because their brain did not store those memories.
Tips for managing memory problems
Headway have published 5 tips for managing memory problems after a brain injury;
- Adapt the environment that the individual is in so they rely on memory less, such as putting all essential information on a notice board.
- Use external memory aids, some examples include, lists, calendars, tape records and smart phones.
- Follow a set routine. Having a daily/ weekly routine will help the individual know what to expect and reduce the demand on memory.
- Combine several strategies to make a substitute memory system. Most people with memory problems find it useful to combine several aids and strategies such as a telephone pad to make notes of conversations.
- Improve general well-being. Memory loss can have many emotional effects on the individual including feelings of anger and anxiety. It is therefore important that the individual is in an environment where they can express and share their feelings.
Where can I get help for someone struggling with the effects of a brain injury?
There are many organisations which are dedicated to supporting those living with an acquired brain injury. These include:
How can we help?
Our specialist Personal Injury and Medical Negligence team at Lester Aldridge have experience in dealing with claims relating to Brain Injuries. We are also Head Injury Solicitors and a Corporate Supporter of Headway.
If one of your friends or family has suffered a Brain Injury, and you are concerned about the events that caused the injury or the treatment they received, our Personal Injury team can assist on 0344 967 0793 or firstname.lastname@example.org