Examples of third party stakeholders in the USA include the national or federal government and its departments such as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education and the Department of Defense. It includes all fifty state departments of health, welfare, human services, rehabilitation, education, mental health and any others offering up programs for persons with brain injuries. It includes county and local governments offering programs such as adult day service programs, paratransit, information and referral services or basic human needs programming. It includes K through 12 schools and postsecondary education systems and institutions.
Third party business stakeholders include professional associations, medical networks, medical clinics, research facilities, rehabilitation hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, patient recruitment enterprises, medical device companies, insurance companies, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and psychological companies. Also included are private facilities, private schools, private nursing homes and the like. Also included are publishers or providers of books, journals, materials, software or web sites designed to aide brain injury survivors.
Third party interests also include individual service providers (sole practitioners) such as doctors, educators, psychologists, social workers, therapists, and counselors, etc. There are small groups and large networks of organized providers who provide paid services to members of the brain injury community. There are associations of various kinds of professionals. There are other kinds of business associations as well.
Lastly, there are also numerous non-profit agencies in the business of serving the brain injury community. Among examples of these would be public interest groups, welfare groups, churches and even online media outlets.
We know that some stakeholders wish to consider our community to involve them, and it does, but we survivors don’t consider these third party interests to be “part of our community.” We have to look at it a different way. In life people have their friends and family, and people also have interaction with the rest of society. There are different rules and social conventions in dealing with family and friends than there are in dealing with the rest of the world. It is a wise course for people with brain injuries, who might easily be taken advantage of, to follow the convention that we ought to regard third parties at arm’s length. We must safe-guard ourselves by being careful, diligent and cautious. It may not always be easy, and some of us, due to brain injury, have a tendency to “let our guard down.” Therefore, we must all practice the art of being careful.
The way for us survivors to best protect ourselves is to operate from the position that we are consumers-patients-students-clients etc. and we have a business relationship with these third party stakeholders. We may sometimes be lucky enough to have a very trusting, comforting, productive relationship with certain third party service providers. However, we must keep in mind that third party stakeholders are not family or friends, and although they work for our survivor community, they are not members of our survivor community.