Recent research has shown that the strongest predictor of emotional distress in TBI patients is life satisfaction with their caregivers. Caregivers who feel distressed and are not satisfied with their own lives are associated with TBI patients who show higher levels of disability, including cognitive impairment.
Conversely, caregivers who feel that there is adequate social support are more likely to be satisfied with life and experience less distress. These caregivers are not associated with higher levels of disability in their patients. When a caregiver is provided with social support, whether in the form of a strong family system or through outside intervention, their TBI patients show better long-term outcomes.
Family members who care for patients should therefore seek support or accept help when offered, either through other family members or through professional organizations such as their local Brain Injury Association.
Vangel Jr SJ, Rapport LJ, & Hanks RA. Effects of family and caregiver psychosocial functioning on outcomes in persons with traumatic brain injury. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. (January 2011).