The Burden On the Caregiver After Traumatic Brain Injury

Couple Sitting and Holding Hands

After discharge from the hospital or rehabilitation center, a person with traumatic brain injury (TBI) usually returns home. In most cases, one family member becomes solely responsible for the patient, creating a tremendous burden on that family member.

A recent study described the most common profile of the caregivers for TBI patients. Although the study focused on military families, the profile is likely to be similar for civilian families as well. The study found that:

• 79% of caregivers are women
• 62% are a parent of the patient
• 32% are a spouse of the patient
• 25% reported providing care for more than 40-hours per week
• 49% reported providing care for more than 80-hours per week
• 60% were the sole provider of care
• After four years, 22% of patients still needed intense care

The sole caregiver of a person with TBI is very likely doing so as an unpaid, full-time job. The financial and emotional burden of this responsibility is an often overlooked casualty of both military and civilian families.

Griffin JM, Friedmann-Sanchez G, Jensen AC, et al. The invisible side of war: Families caring for US service members with traumatic brain injuries and polytrauma. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. (February 2012).