"We are the forgotten victims. No one thinks it affects you if it's just your brother."
Families of TBI patients can be dramatically impacted for many years after the injury. Parents and children of the patient are often provided with extra support, but siblings are often left out completely. And yet the sibling of a TBI patient may suffer greatly-feelings of loss, anger, guilt, role confusion, or broken boundaries can all cause long-term distress.
A recent study found that adults often experience profound life changes after their sibling endured a brain injury. Of significant note, siblings most often found themselves in a caregiving role. Siblings felt they were more in tune with the patient's needs than even their parents. The role of caregiver persisted, even when the sibling moved to a new area. Siblings also reported extreme changes in their religious and spiritual beliefs. Finally, siblings of TBI patients experienced greater impact on career choices, marital disputes, or estrangement from other family members after the injury.
Degennefe CE, & Olney MF. 'We are the forgotten victims': Perspectives of adult siblings of persons with traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury. (October 2010).