Research Aimed at Better Understanding the Effects of Caregiving for Persons With TBI


Caregivers and Mental Health

We focus time and energy on recovery from traumatic brain injury. There are many posts in these blogs about new treatments, prevention, identification of injury, and diagnostic tools. Perhaps it is also time to discuss the quality of life for those living with a victim of TBI and their primary caregivers.

The University of Michigan Center for Clinical Outcomes Development and Application Michigan Health Lab recently published a highly informative article on the quality of life for caregivers of Persons with TBI. There is now an understanding that the quality of life of the caregiver is significantly impacted by the person they look after.

Dr. Noelle Carlozzi recently published a series of papers in a special issue of Rehabilitation Psychology that examines caregivers of people with TBI. Her team established the Traumatic Brain Injury Caregiver Quality of Life Measurement System that is specifically geared to the caregivers of those with TBI. The system measures impacts that have not previously been surveyed.

The special issue of the journal “focuses on the diverse ways that caring for an individual can impact well-being”. Understanding the caregiver experiences through the new survey allows caregivers to better understand how their lives, emotions, work and family relationships, are impacted by their roles.

The researchers also hope that these findings will help highlight the different problems that caregivers encounter including suppression of emotions and putting on a brave face for those they are looking after. The stress of protecting the person with the injury from further harm is significant. Putting more emphasis on the quality of life for caregivers should be on the clinician's radar and will improve the quality of life for the patient as well.

If you are a caregiver for someone with TBI you should be aware of the following factors which may have impacts on your health:

  • Mourning the loss of the person you knew
  • Recovery from TBI will place mental, emotional, and physical stress on you
  • Caregivers often experience anxiety and depression
  • Some caregivers may also be suffering from feelings of fear if they are caregiving for someone who has developed emotional or physical outbursts.

You can find more information on the impacts here. If you are struggling with looking after a loved one with TBI you should speak with your health care provided to access resources for yourself.

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