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Supporting a Loved One Through Injury Recovery

The path to recovery after an injury impacts more than the patient; it directly affects the entire family. During the month of February, we’ll be discussing a series of topics related to injury recovery, and how to best manage the process as a team. From supporting plans of care and maintaining personal health, to date night ideas to help you both relax and have fun along the way, we’ll share insights from community experts and our very own physical therapists so that the path to recovery can be as smooth as possible.

“In sickness and in health.”

On your wedding day, you likely recited those vows with a beaming smile on your face and without a worry in the world. However, when your loved one gets injured or ill, the reality quickly sets in. Your role, at least temporarily, is to become a caregiver; to support your loved one along the path to recovery.

Here are five key tips to supporting a loved one through injury recovery:

1. Get the Facts
As your spouse learns about the injury and the steps necessary to heal, there likely will be a lot of information to digest. Discuss the plan of care that your spouse and the physical therapist put together. If you have questions, connect with the physical therapist or clinic to ensure that you feel knowledgeable and confident in the plan of care.

2. Expect Good Days (and Bad)
One day, your spouse may seem to have made immense progress. The next, it may seem completely different. The only thing “normal” about the path to recovery is that it is never a straight, simple path to the finish line. Communicate openly with your spouse about how he or she feels, and be transparent with your physical therapist along every step of the way.

3. Stay Focused on Realistic Goals
When recovering from an injury, the primary goal should be to function as you did before the injury. While you and your spouse may have additional health and fitness goals, keep your primary focus on recovering first. Then, upon completion of the plan of care, talk to your physical therapist about any additional goals you had so that you can make a plan toward accomplishing them safely.

4. Celebrate Regularly
Be conscious of each small step toward recovery, and take time to celebrate. From a simple hug to a date night out, observe key milestones like:

  • Getting dressed by himself or herself
  • Being able to take the stairs
  • Walking the dog around the block
  • Driving himself or herself

5. Join In
While recovering from an injury, your loved one may be encouraged to make changes to support a healthier lifestyle. Embrace these changes together. Try new healthy recipes, assist with the at-home exercises, or explore a new outdoor activity together. Making lifestyle changes together will not only increase the likelihood of following through with these new habits, but will be a fun way for the two of you to stay connected through the path to recovery.

Are you currently supporting a loved one who is going through physical therapy? If you have any questions at all, be sure to reach out to our staff. We are here for you and your spouse every step of the way!