Impact of TBI on Caregivers of Veterans with TBI

Burden and Interventions

Published in: Brain Injury, Volume 31, Issue 9 (October 2017), pages 1235-1245. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2016.1274778

Posted on RAND.org on December 07, 2017

by Courtney van Houtven, Terri Tanielian

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Objectives

Describe State-of-the-Art in practice and research in caregiving with individuals, specifically, Veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the implications for current practice and future research.

Sources

Professional literature and personal experience of review panel.

Main Outcomes

Unpaid caregiving for individuals with TBI is most often provided by a spouse, parent or other blood relative; the majority of caregivers are women. Although caregiving can be rewarding, it also may create financial burden and psychological stress. Depression among family caregivers occurs four times more frequently than in the general population. Positive coping can help reduce the impact of stress, and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) programmes are available to ease financial burden. Group interventions show promise in reinforcing and improving positive coping for both family caregivers and Veterans with TBI.

Conclusions

Identifying the specific needs of caregivers and families of Veterans with TBI and other traumatic injuries, including post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), will require further longitudinal research. Currently available group interventions and programmes appear to benefit injured Veterans and their family caregivers financially and psychologically. Increased understanding of characteristics of quality family caregiving and its long term costs and benefits is likely to lead to additional improvements in these interventions and programmes.

Research conducted by

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