Calvete and de Arroyabe (2012) in an observational study reported that caregivers regarded health information support as a valuable source, particularly in the early stages of TBI care. Doyle et al. (2013) revealed that the majority of unmet needs for caregivers revolved around health information of the patient, and that their mental health suffered from not knowing this information with increased levels of anxiety and depression. However, education and information may not be enough and methods of actually implementing this knowledge may be needed in tandem in order for education to be effective. Rivera et al. (2008) conducted a study with two groups, a problem solving group and an education-only group, with the education-only group showing increases in depression and more health complaints. It is imperative that caregivers be educated and made aware of available services prior to their loved one being discharged; this has been shown to help caregivers feel more prepared for the future (Bowen et al., 2001).
The need for social relationships and support systems is also important. Several studies have found that caregivers who meet with friends less frequently and receive less social support typically feel more burdened and isolated (Coy et al., 2013; Davis et al., 2009; Manskow et al., 2015). The role of the family has also proven to be a vital source of support for caregivers. Perrin et al. (2013) reported that families scoring highly in cohesion, communication, and functioning resulted in lower caregiver burden and depression, and higher levels of satisfaction with life. Further, families whose members support each other, openly express their feelings, and are capable of being flexible to change demonstrate improved adjustment to the consequences of brain injury (Martin, 1988). Leibach et al. (2014) also emphasized the importance of family functioning in that all five family needs (household, informational, health, financial and social support) were significantly associated with satisfaction with life, burden, anxiety and self-esteem in caregivers.
Bowen, A., Tennant, A., Neumann, V., & Chamberlain, M. A. (2001). Neuropsychological rehabilitation for traumatic brain injury: do carers benefit? Brain Inj, 15(1), 29-38.
Calvete, E., & de Arroyabe, E. L. (2012). Depression and grief in Spanish family caregivers of people with traumatic brain injury: The roles of social support and coping. Brain Injury, 26(6), 834-843.
Coy, A. E., Perrin, P. B., Stevens, L. F., Hubbard, R., Sosa, D. M. D., Jove, I. G. E., & Arango-Lasprilla, J. C. (2013). Moderated mediation path analysis of mexican traumatic brain injury patient social functioning, family functioning, and caregiver mental health. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 94(2), 362-368.
Davis, L. C., Sander, A. M., Struchen, M. A., Sherer, M., Nakase-Richardson, R., & Malec, J. F. (2009). Medical and psychosocial predictors of caregiver distress and perceived burden following traumatic brain injury. J Head Trauma Rehabil, 24(3), 145-154.
Doyle, S. T., Perrin, P. B., Diaz Sosa, D. M., Espinosa Jove, I. G., Lee, G. K., & Arango-Lasprilla, J. C. (2013). Connecting family needs and TBI caregiver mental health in Mexico City, Mexico. Brain Injury, 27(12), 1441-1449.
Leibach, G. G., Trapp, S. K., Perrin, P. B., Everhart, R. S., Cabrera, T. V., Jimenez-Maldonado, M., & Arango-Lasprilla, J. C. (2014). Family needs and TBI caregiver mental health in Guadalajara, Mexico. NeuroRehabilitation, 34(1), 167-175.
Manskow, U. S., Sigurdardottir, S., Roe, C., Andelic, N., Skandsen, T., Damsgard, E., . . . Anke, A. (2015). Factors Affecting Caregiver Burden 1 Year After Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: A Prospective Nationwide Multicenter Study. J Head Trauma Rehabil, 30(6), 411-423.
Martin, D. A. (1988). Children and adolescents with traumatic brain injury: impact on the family. J Learn Disabil, 21(8), 464-470.
Perrin, P. B., Stevens, L. F., Sutter, M., Hubbard, R., Diaz Sosa, D. M., Espinosa Jove, I. G., & Arango-Lasprilla, J. C. (2013). Exploring the connections between traumatic brain injury caregiver mental health and family dynamics in Mexico City, Mexico. PM and R, 5(10), 839-849.
Rivera, P. A., Elliott, T. R., Berry, J. W., & Grant, J. S. (2008). Problem-solving training for family caregivers of persons with traumatic brain injuries: A randomized controlled trial. Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 89(5), 931-941.