Janet Cromer, a healthcare writer who specializes in brain injury and is certified RN, recently offered a handful of great tips for caregivers of traumatic brain injury (TBI) victims. She is also the author of Professor Cromer Learns to Read: A Couple’s New Life after Brain Injury, a chronicle of how she tended to her husband’s recovery. Janet’s husband, Alan, suffered a TBI as a result of a heart attack and cardiac arrest.
In her book, Cromer describes how agitation and anger are a result of a brain injury. These can be incredibly frustrating and dangerous for the victim as well as the caregiver.
Below are her suggestions of important steps to help through the difficult journey, as published in Psychology Today.
- Goal setting. Cromer says to set realistic goals after speaking with a doctor on what the TBI victim will be able to accomplish. For example, after two weeks, the individual should be able to write his or her name. Don’t make the goals too challenging or unobtainable, as this will lead to more frustration. However, they should be goals that will help the victim move forward and gain more confidence.
- Prepare for a long journey. The healing will not happen overnight. Patience and determination are the keys to success. Often, cognitive rehab will start in a hospital or outpatient facility. However, each day will take hard work and stamina in order to see change. The patient and caregiver may become frustrated at not seeing quick results, but they will come eventually.
- Take breaks. The brain requires large amounts of energy to focus and relearn. Taking breaks are vital. For example, some caregivers choose to work hard during the week but take a break from the rehab on the weekend. It’s also a good idea to let the new information settle instead of moving on too quickly.
- Enjoy. The best way to overcome a difficult challenge, even TBI, is to enjoy the little things. Even if your loved one’s personality has changed as a result of TBI, look for positivity even in that.
For more information about traumatic brain injury, read our post that answers common questions about TBI.