Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness
When someone suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the entire family is affected. Studies show that caregivers of people who have suffered a brain injury may experience feelings of burden, distress, anxiety, anger, and depression. If you are caring for a partner, spouse, child, relative, or close friend with TBI, it is important to recognize how stressful this situation can be and to seek support services.
Services that may be most helpful to you include in-home assistance (home health aides or personal care assistants), respite care to provide breaks from caregiving, brain injury support groups, and ongoing or short-term counseling for caregivers to adjust to the changes that have come as a result of the injury. You also may need to ask your support system of family, friends, and community members for help with your loved one’s care, so that you don’t get burned out. (See Family Caregiver Alliance’s fact sheet: Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers for additional tips on taking care of yourself.)
In your role as a caregiver, you will probably find that it can be difficult to find appropriate and adequate services for your loved one. It is important to know that you will most likely need to be persistent in your search for assistance. You should use your network of family and friends, as well as professionals, to get tips about available resources.
Brain Injury Association of Florida www.biaf.org
BIAF is Florida’s only statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to individuals who have survived a brain injury and their families. Founded in 1985 by the mother of a young man who sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a motor vehicle crash, BIAF’s mission is to “improve the quality of life for all persons with brain injury and their families by creating a better future through brain injury awareness, prevention, research, education, support services and advocacy.”
BIAF has several offices located throughout Florida, where Resource Coordinators are available to communicate by phone and in person to assist the TBI survivor and family member. Resource Coordinators answer the TBI Toll Free Helpline (800.992.3442) and provide ongoing, proactive, phone and in person support to the TBI family in the hospital, at home and in the community. Resource Coordinators are available to help families from the time the injury occurs throughout the various phases of recovery, and are experts in national, statewide and local resources necessary to live stable and productive lives. They connect families to the right resources and ensure that the resources are responsive and accessible to meet the needs of the individual.