Family members of a person suffering head injury are confronted with permanent alterations in the person they love. The change in the individual is experienced as a loss which must be grieved. This grieving process can be difficult since the presence of the head injury survivor serves as a constant reminder to the family of what they have lost. With an understanding of the concept of loss without death, nurses caring for the families of head-injured individuals may be better equipped to assist them through this difficult process.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Karen M. Martin, RN, MS, CNRN, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut 06115. She is a neurotrauma clinical nurse specialist.
© 1994 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses