Family members of injured workers
While it’s not your role to be a caregiver to your injured loved one, you still have a big part to play. Read how you can encourage your loved one to work through their recovery.
Only you know what it’s like to live with the aftermath of your injury. The WCB has heard from other workers who have been severely injured that they want to find a new purpose in life. Doing something that’s meaningful to you – whether it’s volunteering, a new sport, a hobby, a social activity or returning to paid employment – this is one of the most important aspects of your recovery. When you’re ready to explore your options, we can assist you in finding services in your community that will help you achieve your goals.
You’ve been there … no one knows better
If you’re interested, and when you’re ready, you may want to share your story and experiences to help others stay safe or recover from their injuries.
If you’re in distress
If you or your family members are having a hard time coping with your injury, please call your WCB team. We may be able to provide additional services such as counselling support or connect you with other social services that can help.
Helping your loved one
When someone you love is badly hurt at work — your son or daughter, your husband, wife or partner – it’s serious. Everything that was certain about your life suddenly seems to have completely changed. It can be a difficult time and the WCB is here to help.
It is not your role to be a caregiver to your injured loved one. That is the job of doctors, nurses, therapists and other professionals.
Still, you have a big part to play. The WCB knows from experience that the involvement of loved ones is critical. It is important for family and friends to stay close and to encourage your loved one to work through their recovery.
Your loved one’s feelings
People who have been seriously injured experience a lot of emotional responses to their incidents, including anger, anxiety, depression or grief. As a result, you may be faced with rage or sadness, withdrawal or unreasonable demands. Some of these emotions can overlap, come and go many times and continue for long periods throughout your loved one’s recovery. It can be hard for family members or friends to deal with these feelings.
Your support and feelings
Your feelings may be similar to those of your injured loved one. Even though you’re not hurt physically, you’ve definitely experienced a traumatic experience. You may carry a double emotional load as a result of handling your own feelings while supporting your loved one.
Your support role can be hard. There’s no script to follow, but here are some suggestions that may help:
- Listening – Listening is important and reassuring. Be sympathetic, even if your injured loved one is negative.
- Being too helpful – Be aware that too much assistance may not be helpful in the long run. As your loved one gets better, they can do more for themselves, but some resist. So even if your family member insists, don’t continue helping with things that they may be capable of doing themselves. Being firm may be difficult, but giving in to them can slow their recovery and cause them to become overly dependent on others.
- Being united – Get family and friends to agree to this approach of acceptance, reassurance and, when appropriate, boundary setting.
Take care of yourself
It is important that you take care of yourself and avoid burnout. Here are some approaches that may help:
- Develop your own support system – This can include relatives, friends, members of your religious and cultural community, or your doctor. Talking to others helps avoid using your injured family member as a sounding board for your own feelings.
- Stay active – Physical activity is good for you and those you love.
- Humour – Try to maintain and share a sense a humour. Think of it as medicine for you and everyone around you.