1. Believe them when they say they can’t do something, are having difficulty, or tell you about certain symptoms they’re experiencing. 
  2. Avoid responding in ways that show suspicion or downplay their experience, such as “You don’t look injured,” “Look on the bright side,” “You must be fully recovered,” “Shouldn’t you be better now?” “You’re so intelligent, you can’t be disabled,” “Can’t you just push through?” or “Stop being so emotional!”  
  3. Try not to use “at least” phrases—“At least you didn’t die!” “At least you can still walk/work/bike etc!”—that downplay the difficulties they are experiencing. 
  4. Offer to attend appointments with them and take detailed notes, as some patients may struggle to remember everything that’s said. You could also go over potential questions a few days before appointments, so the person has time to process and articulate thoughts and concerns. 
  5. Continue to check in with a call or visit, even if they can’t always reciprocate. Ask them when the best time of day is to be in touch.  
  6. Help limit the number of interactions they have or activities they do in a day to protect their energy.  
  7. Offer to help with day-to-day tasks: picking up kids from school, grocery shopping, household chores, or scheduling appointments. 
  8. Bring over nutritious meals.  
  9. Help them navigate services, apply for eligible supports, or drive them to appointments. 
  10. Keep a journal if they’re unable to (dates, times, observed symptoms, feelings, etc.). 
  11. Don’t take anything personally and be flexible when plans need to change if someone is experiencing increased symptoms or are not feeling well. 
  12. Be patient. Allow yourself to slow down to the pace and ‘real-time’ for the person with a brain injury.  
  13. Offer support for the caregivers and family members of the survivor – many of whom are dealing with their own traumas related to a loved one’s brain injury. As one survivor, Peter, told us, “Families need to be taken care of as well.”