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Accidents, by their very nature, are unexpected. They are shocking. A toddler wanders away for a minute or two and finds just two inches of water – s/he suffers brain damage. A teenager wades into the ocean with a boogie board and twists his neck in just the wrong way – he is suddenly quadriplegic. A car accident causes serious injury, but thankfully full recovery is possible.
Families coping with the aftermath of an accident face many challenges. The type and severity of the accident may inform an effective community response. Issues related to trauma, as well as those logistical and financial, are usually associated with such a response.
Sadly, we are all aware of families affected by accidents – near-drownings, car accidents, household accidents – to name but a few.
As families struggle to come to terms with shifting and life-altering realities, communities come together to offer support.
This is an instance where a healing community can have tremendous impact. If you are considering ways to help a family in need following an accident, consider best practices and efficient ways to lend your most effective hand.
It is generally useful to consider a trifecta of needs: emotional, logistical, and financial.
Providing necessary support will generally depend upon the specific relationship of someone offering help to the person or family in need of the help.
For example, psychological trauma following an accident is extremely common. People who survive car accidents often suffer symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those who are close to accident survivors may be able to get a sense of that person’s emotional state. They may be able to suggest help if the injured person seems to be struggling. (This may be especially relevant if the accident survivor is responsible for the causing the accident).
Differences in medical insurance may have a good deal of impact on the financial burden with which a family must cope. With this in mind, offers of support for things that add up in life are very helpful. Expenses associated with everyday life are especially onerous on a family coping with unknown emergent medical debt. They will also face an uncertain timetable for recovery, lost wages and other stressors – financial and more.
Recovery from accidents is time consuming. I once had occasion to do physical therapy following an autoimmune illness I suffered causing my temporary paralysis. In physical therapy, I worked alongside people who had suffered motor vehicle accidents, burns and more. It was humbling to see the way in which people approached the painful (and often very depressing) challenge of recovery.
Accident recovery is debilitating both physically and emotionally. In a best-case scenario – where recovery is possible — it is still brutal. Many families shoulder financial burdens for years.
For this reason, engaging a family in the long haul after an accident is extremely useful. There are many opportunities to weigh in on logistics. If someone is unable to drive, for example, transport to physical therapy is essential. Other family members may be involved in work or school and so identifying these sorts of specific needs after the initial crisis has passed is helpful in a life-altering way.
Making efforts to check in as to specific and emergent needs allows the family coping with the aftermath of an accident to ask for help and receive tangible benefit. Sustained efforts to help can do nothing less than rescue a family from the brink of financial ruin.
A life can be saved by a doctor. However, a family can be saved by the efforts of local people to form a village.
Give InKind does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We have an affiliate relationship with many of the advertisers on our site, and may receive a commission from any products purchased from links in this article. See Terms & Conditions.