Back to Top Skip to main content

Caring for the caregivers of TBI patients

Shundra Johnson, left, gives encouragement to her husband Coast Guard Lt. Sancho Johnson during the Navy’s wounded warrior training camp for the 2015 DoD Warrior Games in Port Hueneme, Calif., May 29, 2015. Shundra is also her husband’s caregiver. (DoD News photo by EJ Hersom)             Shundra Johnson, left, gives encouragement to her husband Coast Guard Lt. Sancho Johnson during the Navy’s wounded warrior training camp for the 2015 DoD Warrior Games in Port Hueneme, Calif., May 29, 2015. Shundra is also her husband’s caregiver. (DoD News photo by EJ Hersom)

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury

Many service members and veterans who experience traumatic brain injuries recover completely, but some endure chronic problems for years that require extended caregiving—usually from family members such as spouses or parents. Now, a first-of-a-kind tool developed by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center could allow health care providers to assess the burdens on caregivers and develop treatments to meet their needs.

Working with federal and academic partners, DVBIC developed the Traumatic Brain Injury Caregiver Quality of Life measurement tool, known as TBI-CareQOL. The tool assesses how caregivers feel about loss of self-identity, or whether they feel trapped or anxious or stressed. The tool “will give researchers and clinicians some real insight into, and ability to measure impact, of TBI caregiving on the family member,” said Johanna Smith, a DVBIC program analyst.

The tool is currently in use as part of a congressionally-mandated study, known as the “15-year study”, following a group of caregivers of service members and veterans with TBI injuries. DVBIC supports this long-term project, which is taking place at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The new tool builds on the National Institutes of Health-funded “Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System,” known as PROMIS, which measures health-related quality of life indicators.  

DVBIC’s new tool was shown to be a reliable and valid instrument for measuring quality of life. In the future, the tool could help identify caregivers who need rest from their responsibilities or who are at-risk for developing mental and physical health difficulties.

As Smith pointed out, “Caring for the caregiver allows for better care of our service members and veterans.”

DVBIC’s A Head for the Future initiative has chronicled some of the challenges caregivers face, and how they can avoid burn out. As the caregiver husband of a Coast Guard veteran who sustained a TBI, Jason Courneen said, “Every day is different. I remember my limits and take breaks as needed so that I can center myself and be the best husband, dad, and caregiver possible.” To get a break from caring for his wife Alexis, he exercises regularly by running, mountain biking, and skiing.

Lisa Colella, who takes care of her Marine veteran husband Rick, said, “I also take walks, set aside time to be social, schedule routine physical and mental health checkups, take classes available for caregivers, and exercise.”

These stories provide vivid examples of resilience when dealing with TBI. But more research is needed to ensure that all caregivers have needed support services.

Find additional resources on caregiver support on the DVBIC website.

You also may be interested in...

DVBIC eye-tracking tech may help service members with concussions

Article
7/28/2020
Soldier sitting in front of a laptop with headphones on

The Fusion technology is more objective, by assessing eye reaction time.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury

TBI researchers increased access to data expands ability to care

Article
7/24/2020
Image of woman speaking at a podium

The study's impact will expand with its inclusion in FITBIR.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury

DVBIC collaboration leads to improved sleep recommendations

Article
7/13/2020
Airman sleeping on floor of plane

The expanded recommendations identify additional sleep disturbances through a streamlined process of diagnosis and management.

Recommended Content:

Sleep | Traumatic Brain Injury

The NICoE: Ten years of Healing ‘The Invisible Wounds of War’

Article
6/30/2020
Image of man hooked up to machine and walking on treadmill

10 years of TBI, PTS care

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

The Language of Anger and Depression Among Patients with Concussions

Article
6/4/2020
Image of naval captain talking to another military person

Soldiers often do not overtly express their feelings of depression.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Anger | Depression

Improving training of healthcare providers boosts post-concussion care

Article
3/24/2020
Elizabeth Fuentes (left), physical therapist assistant, Fort Bliss Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, provides information and educates medical professionals about TBI symptoms, treatments and assessments, during the TBI Clinic’s open house event, in observance of Brain Injury Awareness Month. (U.S. Army photo by Marcy Sanchez)

This study highlights the importance of integrating research, clinical affairs, and education activities at DVBIC

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury

Female, male service members, veterans recover from concussion differently

Article
3/6/2020
At an informal celebration at the AFWERX Vegas Innovation Hub earlier this month, U.S. Air Force personnel took delivery of four helmet designs that may each represent the next generation of fixed-wing aircrew equipment. In just nine months, the AFWERX innovations process generated tangible products for further Air Force testing and development. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nathan Riddle)

Female veterans may have a harder time performing some mental tasks after a mild traumatic brain injury or concussion

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Women's Health | Men's Health

Brain Injury Awareness Month raises awareness of TBI in the military

Article
3/2/2020
The Department of Defense and the Military Health System recognizes March each year as Brain Injury Awareness Month to increase awareness of traumatic brain injuries, and the Department’s efforts to improve its ability to identify, care for, and treat service members and veterans who are affected by TBI. (MHS graphic)

A division of the Defense Health Agency Research and Development Directorate, DVBIC is the DoD’s TBI center of excellence

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources

Joint Staff doctor explains TBI diagnosis procedures

Article
2/26/2020
An Airman searches for salvageable items after missile attacks at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq, Jan. 12, 2020. At a Pentagon news conference, Air Force Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Paul Friedrichs, the Joint Staff Surgeon, said 110 service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries from the attack. Most have returned to duty, while 25 returned to the United States for further treatment, he said, and six more are still undergoing testing. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Derek Mustard)

A TBI takes time to diagnose, and the process is involved

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury

Positive attitude, social support may promote TBI/PTSD resilience

Article
7/23/2019
Navy Lt. Cmdr. John Derenne, a psychiatrist at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, discusses mental health and resiliency at the hospital’s Behavioral Health Clinic. Derenne, a native of Orange, California, says, “Mental health challenges should not be hidden or ignored; seeking help early is a sign of strength. Just like physical fitness, good mental health is integral to your well-being and mission readiness.” (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel)

Psychological experiences prior to an injury may play a role in recovery

Recommended Content:

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Traumatic Brain Injury

Warm Handoff for Transitioning Servicemembers Suffering from PTSD and TBI

Congressional Testimony
7/8/2019

S. 2987, SASC Report for FY 2019, 115-262, Pg. 203-204

Recommended Content:

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder | Traumatic Brain Injury

New clinical recommendations on cognitive rehabilitation for TBI released

Article
6/24/2019
Dr. Gregory Johnson (right), Tripler Concussion Clinic medical director, has Army Spc. Andrew Karamatic, Department of Medicine combat medic, follow his finger with his eyes during a neurologic exam at Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal)

Cognitive rehabilitation focuses on improving thinking and communication skills

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Traumatic Brain Injury | Mental Wellness

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

Congressional Testimony
6/13/2019

H.R. 5515 HASC Report for FY 2019 115-676, Pg. 128

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury

Medical museum features mask-making arts therapy exhibit

Article
4/5/2019
Masks made by patients at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center are seen on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine, a division of the Defense Health Agency Research and Development Directorate, in an exhibit titled "Visual Voices of the Invisible Wounds of War." The exhibit is on display through May 31, 2019. (Department of Defense photo by Matthew Breitbart)

The exhibit explores the psychosocial environment of patients with TBI

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | National Museum of Health and Medicine

Emerging technology improves ability to see ‘invisible’ wounds

Article
3/29/2019
As well as providing high-resolution clinical imaging capabilities, the 3T Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner used at the NICoE provides researchers access to cutting-edge image acquisition methods, such as multiband diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and echo planar imaging (EPI) sequences. (Photo courtesy of NICoE)

Ultimate goal is better understanding, quality of life for warfighters

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 76 - 90 Page 6 of 11

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.