Your body has been through a lot, so it is bound to be weaker than usual as it recovers. Alongside this, if you are immobile, or just unable to weight bear on a leg, your muscles will have weakened and this will make simple things much harder than you are used to. While in hospital you are likely to see a Physiotherapist who will show you exercises to build these muscles back up, you may also be referred to a Physiotherapist as an outpatient. Do not overdo things, space tasks out and rest whenever you need to. Ensure you get enough good quality sleep too, which includes avoiding caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
If you are in hospital, your doctors and nurses will implement a pain management plan, and you can let them know if it isn’t working for you or if you are experiencing any side effects. When you get home you should discuss pain problems with your GP.
Smoking cigarettes has been proven to affect your ability to fight infection and it can also delay the healing of your wounds. This is because it reduces available oxygen, thickens the blood through toxins and other chemicals in cigarettes influence your infection fighting cells. While you are in hospital you can be provided with support such as nicotine patches to help you stop smoking, or you could contact the stop smoking service on 0800 169 4219.
This is entirely dependent on your injuries; you will need to discuss this with your doctor. You may be able to drive but still need to speak to the DVLA and your insurance company about the injuries you have sustained and how they may impact on your ability to drive.
Your body uses up a lot of resources trying to recover from traumatic injuries therefore it is very common for patients to lose weight. Nutrition is incredibly important as it helps you to heal and ensures you have enough vitamins and minerals to fight off any potential infections. The hospital are aware of this and will provide nutritious food for you and it is important that you keep up a good diet when you leave the hospital.
A lot happens to you when you’ve experience a traumatic injury, you will encounter lots of different members of staff assessing your various needs and this can be very overwhelming. In addition to this, the shock of your accident, as well as the drugs you may be given, can make it more difficult and everything seems like a whirlwind. This should get better when things settle down, particularly once you get home. However in some cases, particularly if a head injury was involved, you may need to speak to your GP.
There are some travel insurance companies who will refuse to insure an individual with a pre-existing medical condition or disability, but there are specialist companies who will be able to help you, just ask us for details. You’ll need to make sure you take any necessary medication in appropriate quantities and inform the relevant people if you have any special requirements, such as assistance to get on a plane.
Unfortunately you are at risk of infection after injury, but there are lots of things that can be done to minimise this risk. Sit up and breathe deeply to reduce any chest infections, keep hydrated and maintain good personal hygiene. You’ll be given antibacterial soap and ointment on a daily basis and if you are limited you will be assisted with this.
Your consultant will tell you how much weight you can put on your legs. You may be non-weight bearing and have to use crutches or a wheelchair for a period of time. Your physiotherapist will be able to help you with this, and your mobility will be reviewed regularly.
Day One operates a Welfare Benefits clinic on the ward twice a week where we can give you face-to-face advice and check whether you are entitled to claim any benefits. Speak to a member of staff or contact us to ensure a representative visits you.
You can speak to former major trauma patients. Day One work with a team of ‘Peer Support’ volunteers who have travelled the trauma journey and are happy to share their experiences and discuss yours. There are also some friendly volunteers who are not former patients but are happy to come along just for a chat about anything. Contact us for details.
Day One is happy to support families of patients, be that through Welfare Benefits service, or through Peer Support. Just get in touch to see what we can do.