Traumatic brain injury (TBI) could be devastating for both the victims and their loved ones. It is an injury that severely affects the brain’s functioning and can lead to temporary or permanent disabilities.
About 2.8 million people sustain TBI every year. It is the key factor to approximately 30% of all the injury-related fatalities in the United States of America. Currently, over 5.3 million American victims are living with long-term TBI disabilities.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has estimated that the economic cost of TBI was around $76.5 billion in 2010. This includes both direct and indirect treatment costs. Medical costs include emergency department visits, rehabilitation, ongoing care, etc. Approximately 90% of the total medical expenses are required during hospitalization.
The expenses associated with TBI surgery, medical care, recovery are overwhelming and depend on the severity of the traumatic brain injury. Hence, it becomes critical to find potential insurance policies that offer coverage related to the present and future medical expenses associated with the brain injury.
Specific costs of brain injuries
As per the Family Caregiver Alliance and the Brain Injury Association of America, it is estimated that victims of traumatic brain injuries and their family members can expect a plethora of expenses which includes:
- Lifetime expected medical expenses that may go as high as $4 million.
- Massive rehabilitation cost. It includes physical therapy and long-term care for a TBI victim, and the expense may go up to $200,000.
- Daily, the average traumatic brain injury rehabilitation hospital costs are approximately $8000.
- Traumatic brain injury patients and rehabilitation centers have expenditures ranging from $850 to $2,500 per day.
- In case of death from a TBI, the average medical expenses can still go up to reach $450,000 or more. Family members of the traumatic brain injury patient have to pay this enormous cost.
- The survivors of a traumatic brain injury regularly need some help to return to work. The supported employment for TBI survivors costs beyond $10,000 for the initial year of employment help following an injury.
The cost to society
Some research and studies show that a failure to have a self-perceived productive role in our society after TBI has an economic impact on the injured, their families, and society. For example, the unemployment rate is 60% after two years of diagnosis with brain injury. To further complicate the matter, the cost of TBI treatment is exorbitant. Therefore, proper care and support are crucial to minimize the unemployment cycle and reduce dependence on state and federal public programs and homelessness. It is estimated that 53% of homeless people are affected by a traumatic brain injury.
What can be done to reduce the financial burden on families?
Different types of insurance coverage can help the families of a TBI patient to pay medical expenses and damages incurred from a traumatic brain injury. These types of coverage can come from the TBI victim’s insurance policy or his/her family or the insurance from the company or person responsible for the injury. To understand the application of coverage, you need to evaluate circumstances that resulted in the injury and insurance policies of the people involved.
At times, insurance companies for the party that caused the TBI may refuse to pay a sufficient amount of money for the injury. In such circumstances, consultation with a brain injury lawyer is recommended to reduce the financial burden on families. The lawyer can aid both parties in identifying all potential policies and can help to recover the compensation available as per the law.
Ways that people can help themselves recover from a brain injury
Traumatic brain injuries are diverse and vary in severity. The side effects of TBI are unpredictable. However, TBI patients can help themselves recover from the injury with the help of exercise and making an effort to follow instructions given by the doctors during the therapy sessions. Also, eating nutritious food and resting or taking naps when needed is an excellent way of self-care during recovery.
How are medical providers helping survivors of brain injury?
With the advancement in the medical field, there are a variety of treatments available to help patients recover following a brain injury. The treatment and therapies differ from patient to patient depending on their needs and abilities after TBI. Patients have a bespoke rehab program and involve many types of medical providers. Rehabilitation therapies help brain injury survivors build physical strength, flexibility, balance, restore energy levels, relearn to perform daily tasks, etc. Some patients may need psychotherapy, which is focused on treating mood changes like anxiety, depression, or anger.
Sometimes, social services are involved by the medical providers to offer proper education and resources to patients with traumatic brain injuries. The social workers help the TBI survivors to deal with symptoms, side effects, and the recovery process.
Millions of Americans with TBI need help in their physical and emotional recovery. The medical costs for these patients are massive, which is why it’s time to focus on this aspect as well to support them during what can be a difficult journey back into society.