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Providing expert support to people affected by neurological problems

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Online Q&A: Carers, family and friends

FriendsThis live webchat was held for the family, friends and carers of people with neurological conditions on Tuesday 11th June 2013. Our Helpline nurses answered the following questions...

Your questions on caring for friends, partners or family members with a neurological condition

Reducing my partner's stroke risk

I am really worried about my partner who recently had a mild stroke and he has been told he is at risk of having another stroke in the future. How can I help him to reduce this risk?

Helpline Nurse:

Thank you for your message.
Your partner may have had tests on his heart and blood tests to check his cholesterol, blood sugar and blood clotting. Based on these results he may have been offered a treatment program, for example, medication and diet modifications. Keeping active, stopping smoking, following a balance diet and reducing alcohol intake may help to prevent a further stroke. If he is taking any medication please make sure that he is taking it appropriately.

What if my son has another seizure while he is alone?

My son had a seizure last week and he is waiting to go to have a scan and to see a neurologist. He lives on his own and I am worried that this will happen to him again.

Helpline Nurse:
Hello Frank,
I understand your concerns.
You may wish to talk to your son about the option of living with you or having someone stay with him until he has his scan done. That way he may feel safer and you may feel reassured. If he drives he should contact the DVLA and discuss when it would be appropriate to drive again.

How can I persuade my adult daughter's neurologist to understand her problems with IIH and investigate other conditions?

What can I do to make sure the Neurologist understand how difficult the IIH can affect my grown daughter and get them to look into other conditions as well due to her symptoms? She can sometimes find it difficult to get the right word out, but without knowing her you may not know she is having a problem. I offer help but we are told that she should know how she feels.
Helpline Nurse:
Hello Barbara,
Thank you for your message.
It is quite common with neurological conditions that a person can appear to look quite well, as if there is nothing wrong with them. This can have an impact on them getting the support and help they need.
I understand your wish to help your daughter to ensure that she receives the care that she needs although this can be difficult, especially when your child is an adult, as the neurologist will be expecting her to speak for herself. It may help for your daughter to keep a diary of her symptoms and to write down any questions that she has for her neurologist before her appointments. If this is difficult, maybe her GP or another health professional could write to her neurologist on her behalf to explain how her symptoms are affecting her.

Incontinence after spinal injury

My husband is having problems with incontinence after a spinal injury.. is there anything that can be done to help?

Helpline Nurse:
Your husband may find it helpful talking either to his spinal specialist (if he is still under their care) or his GP who could refer him to a specialist centre for a review.
I understand that he may find it difficult to talk about the problem but the staff at the spinal injury unit will have experience of dealing with bowel and bladder problems following a spinal injury.

Can my Mum hear me talk to her while she is in a coma?

My Mum is in a coma after a car accident. I visit her, I am still talking to her but I wondered can she actually hear me?
Helpline Nurse:
I was sorry to hear that your mother is in a coma.
It is very common for people to talk to their loved ones when they are in a coma. Depending on how deep the coma is, your mum may be able to hear what you are saying to her. You may also wish to read to her or play music if that is something that she likes.

Vestibular rehabilitation exercises

I want to know if I should be there when my wife does her exercises for her balance.

Helpline Nurse:
Hello Steve,
It could be helpful if you were there while your wife is doing her vestibular rehabilitation exercises particularly if she is quite unsteady on her feet. Those exercises can retrain the balance centre which is in our inner ear. Sometimes the exercises can make people feel worse before they notice an improvement in their symptoms, which is a normal part of the rehabilitation process.

Helpline nurseDo you have a question for our nurses?

Call freephone 0808 808 1000, use our online form to send a message, or email helpline@brainandspine.org.uk.

You can also post a message on our discussion forum.

Or find out more about how the Helpline can help you.



Read the chat as it happened