HOW TO HELP
1. It is important to remember that the person experiencing unconsciousness may have had a variety of experiences. If the person was unconscious because of a head injury, do not expect them to remember the events immediately preceding the accident. They may experience something called "retrograde amnesia." They may be frustrated at not being able to remember the accident or what happened to them.
2. If your patient has had a near-death experience, he or she may have had the most significant experience of their life. Though their family may be experiencing fear, anxiety and grief, they may be filled with love, joy and total peace . What is important now is to help the patient and family members talk about the experiences they each had. Don't force the sharing. Just let them know that they probably had very different experiences and talking about them might be helpful.
3. Normalize any exceptional/paranormal experiences. Millions of people have had out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, near-death visits and even encounters with the Grim Reaper. These experiences do not mean the person is "going crazy", though that is a common fear.
4. If they ask why nothing like a near-death experience happened to them during their illness, tell them that is also normal. Remind them that 25% of all patients have no recollection of any experiences during their unconscious episode.
5. All the exceptional or paranormal experiences, particularly the near-death experience, will have a major effect on the family member's life. These experiences are always transforming and the patient and family may need help integrating what has happened into their lives. The International Association of Near-Death Studies (IANDS) has many local support groups that may be able to help.
Click here to find out how to connect with local support groups
6. Remember, while there are commonalities to these experiences, every person and family is unique. For some the transition back to life as they once knew it is easy; for others there are physical and psychological issues to deal with. There are people and groups to help. Be familiar with the names and addresses of local support groups and community organizations.
We all wish we could help people avoid the trauma of having a loved one become unconscious. However, should this unfortunate situation occur, you can make a difference in both the quality of your patient's life in this state, and their ability to recover.
The following link is recommended for information on parapsychology and psychic research.
The American Society for Psychical Research