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Brain injury patients can require costly home modifications

If you suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident, your world likely came crashing down around you. Depending upon the severity of your TBI, you could find yourself struggling to complete even the simplest activities of daily living unassisted.

Sometimes after a particularly serious TBI, your home must be modified in order to accommodate your impairments. It might be necessary to widen doorways and install ramps for wheelchair access, or perhaps you will need lower countertops and cabinets that you can easily access.

But not all adaptations will be for mobility-impaired TBI patients. An injured brain can be over-stimulated, confused and easily overwhelmed by sensory elements of the home environment. The lights may now be unbearably bright, or noise from the outside may be much too loud and intrusive. Even intricate patterns or loud colors may be too much stimulation for someone struggling to maintain control of his or her behavior and responses.

Installing grab bars in bathrooms can allow TBI patients to toilet themselves without assistance in some cases, and showers that can accommodate a wheelchair can give them autonomy during bathing. Having to request assistance for these personal tasks is demoralizing and frustrating.

Making major modifications to an existing home, or purchasing one already equipped with the necessary equipment can be cost prohibitive, especially if the injured party is no longer able to work. This is a good reason to contemplate taking legal action against the person or entity responsible for your injuries.

Often there can be multiple parties that bear liability. Naming each one in any civil suit for damages can increase the settlement or judgment enough to make the needed housing modifications that greatly improve quality of life.

Source: Brainlin.org, "Designing Houses for People with Brain Injury," Elliott Roth, MD, accessed Feb. 19, 2016

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