Offering diagnosis and treatment of communication, hearing, and swallowing disorders
Published: Feb. 24, 2011
Updated: Nov. 3, 2011
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) provide rehabilitation and support for people who experience traumatic brain injury (TBI).
But TBI does not affect only the person with the injuries. It impacts the families that surround them. There are things that can be done to help not only the person with TBI, but the caregiver and family too.
Here are some suggestions to provide support to the caregiver, family, and loved ones of the person with TBI:
This TBI will impact you and your family. This injury may cause emotional, physical, and financial stress. It is completely normal to feel denial, anger, depression, guilt, or responsibility.
You may have trouble sleeping, feel separated from life, lose interest in activities, and find it hard to remember things, or have the need to talk a lot about what has happened.
If these feelings occur, do not be alarmed. Find support and help around you to help you deal with this new situation in your life.
Stress is the wear and tear on your body, mind, and spirit caused by your reactions to life’s events. Stress occurs when we must adjust to change -- whether that change is pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.
Try some of the following to reduce your stress:
During your loved one’s recovery, you may stay at their bedside for hours, making sure they are eating, drinking, and resting. But in the process, you may sacrifice your own health and needs.
It is important to care for yourself with the same diligence as you care for your loved one. You will be a better support for them and be able to put more energy into their recovery if you are well fed, rested, thinking clearly, and prepared for the next step.
Being strong doesn’t mean taking responsibility for everything around you. Accept offers of help from others.
Think about tasks that others can do for you (laundry, cooking meals, running errands, grocery shopping, cleaning house, or sitting with the patient) and communicate this clearly.
This can ease your stress and make your friends and family feel like they are helping.
Take time to read articles, attend support groups, read books, and study resources on the internet. The more understanding you have about TBI and its impact on the patient, family, and yourself, the better you can cope with the changes in your life.
The care of the patient is provided by a team of health care providers. The following tips may help you work with the team to provide the best care possible:
Burnout is a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion that results from expending too much energy while allowing too little time for recovery.
This leaves you feeling overwhelmed and incapable of coping with the situation. To assist in avoiding burnout, consider:
It may feel like your world has just come to a screeching stop. However, there are still work and family responsibilities away from the hospital that you must tend to.
You may be uncomfortable being away form the patient, but there will be things that require your attention. By taking the time to attend to those matters, you are taking care of yourself and your family.
You will also be able to better care for the patient when you are with him/her. You will be helping the patient with tasks and worries they are unable to tend to for themselves.
Be kind to yourself as you deal with this difficult new situation in your life. You can contact the Trauma Social Worker for more information or assistance.
The following are practical tips that the family can use during their time at Duke University Hospital:
This information was adapted from and used with permission by the Family Caregiver Alliance. For more information, visit their Web site or call 415-434-3388.