Caregivers Conferences Successful, Despite Lower Than Expected Attendance

Caregiver Supporting Woman out of Wheelchair

At the beginning of 2007, the California Brain Injury Association took on the challenge of hosting identical Caregiver Conferences throughout the state. Letters were sent out to support groups and organizations seeking donated meeting space, and assistance with the onsite coordination of the conferences. Each of the onsite coordinators also assisted CALBIA

with securing local speakers to present the following topics that were viewed as the most beneficial for caregivers:

  • Advocacy: Taking charge & Influencing Change; Family Dynamics After Brain Injury
  • Communication Issues: Tips & Tricks
  • The A B C’s of Behavioral Management
  • Managing Medications With Your Personal Physician
  • Stress: How to Combat Caregiver Burnout
  • Preparing for the Future: Medical & Financial Issues.

Six organizations in Pomona, Long Beach, San Jose, Red Bluff, Fresno, and San Diego
answered the call and we were off and running with preparing for what we had hoped to me a massive amount of individuals registering to attend these conferences. Unfortunately, registration was lower than we had expected and it was necessary to cancel the Long Beach site but we greatly appreciate the assistance of the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and staff who worked diligently to assist CALBIA with this effort.
Dr. Mark Ashley, CALBIA Board Chairman

Dr. Felice Loverso, CALBIA Board Member

The first of five conferences was held at Casa Colina Centers for Rehabilitation in Pomona. Casa Colina was very generous in providing us with the meeting space, as well as break¬fast and lunch for the conference attendees. Many of their staff also served as speakers.

Within a few days, we were off to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose. Once again, attendees were treated to light snacks and lunch provided by SCVMC. Like Casa Colina, several staff members donated their time to present the topics by CALBIA.
Next was the conference in Red Bluff.

Thanks to the staff at the Brain Injury Coalition and the Mountain Caregiver Resource Center, they were able to secure a Community Center to host the conference and solicited local speakers and additional sponsors to pay for the facility and meals.
In early October, we traveled to the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno. Thanks to the staff and support group in Fresno who helped to advertise the conference.

Last but not least, we were in San Diego on October 22nd, the day after the massive fires broke out. The San Diego site had the highest number of pre-registered attendees, but due to the fires and closure of many of the surrounding freeways, about half of the attendees could not make it. Thanks to the members of the San Diego Brain Injury Foundation who assisted with the planning and onsite coordination. Based on the evaluations we received from each site, the majority of the attendees felt that the information presented was useful and can be applied in their homes.

Each attendee was also provided with a Care¬giver Resource Guide that contained each of the topics presented, as well as helpful resources in the state. We are currently working to have each of the presentations available on the CALBIA website and we hope to have that process completed by the end of January.

All of this could not have been possible with¬out the very generous donation from Aera Energy Fund Kern Community Foundation, who provided CALBIA with a $25,000 grant to host these conferences throughout the state. Other sponsors and persons that are deserving of our appreciation are noted below:

  • Long Beach Memorial Medical Center Mountain Caregiver Resource Center Community Regional Medical Center Rehab Without Walls Far Northern Regional Center

Dr. Felice Loverso Dr. Nancy Farrell Dr. Laura Seibert Dr. Kelli McSwan Dr. David Patterson Dr. Mark Ashley Chris Persel, MA, BCABA Lisa Moss Dr. Penny Hogg Ann Perkins, MA Dr. Jeffrey Englander Dr. Harriet Zeiner Josie Corporan, LLP Connie Massie, LCSW Todd Higgins Susanne Rossi, MC Cecelia Garcia, CDMS, CCM, CLCP, MSCC Dr. Lisa Kreber Kathy Simmons, BSN, CCM Dr. John Edwards Veronika Glenn Capt. Elwood Hopkins Dr. Barbara Welsh-Osga

Conference Planning Committee:
Dr. Mark Ashley Landa Bell-Carson Paula Daoutis Claudia Ellano Vicki Farrell Joe Gurican Susan Hansen Dr. Lisa Kreber Lisa Moss

Special Thanks To:
Dr. Felice Loverso Linda Leyva Dr. John Edwards Karen Cook Dr. Richard Adams CJ Harmatz Sarah Johnson
Ann Perkins, CALBIA Board Member