Giffords at Home - How Will Her Family Cope with Her Complicated Care?

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TBI Expert from Fletcher Allen Health Care/University of Vermont can comment on the role of family caregivers of TBI patients

What should families of TBI patients like Rep. Giffords do, and NOT do, to maintain and possibly improve on the progress made in rehabilitation?

Hi - with Congresswoman Giffords now at home, this is a great time to take a look at the role of family caregivers of TBI patients. How do they know what to do, and not do, to maintain the gains made in rehab and possibly build on them? How can they prevent progress from being reversed? How do they handle reintegrating them into the community? Dr. Roger Knakal is a TBI expert at Fletcher Allen Health Care/University of Vermont with a special interest in family support and he can comment on these issues.

As with most of the millions of TBI patients in the U.S., Rep. Giffords is facing a wide range of complicated problems, placing heavy demands on family and other non-clinical caregivers who will be with her 24-7.

A recent study conducted at Fletcher Allen Health Care determined that no national standard exists for educating TBI family caregivers – in terms of the content or how to deliver it. This means family caregivers often get conflicting advice from doctors and therapists. The study also found that a well-designed process to learn what each family says it wants to know improves the consistency of the info provided and family satisfaction with the education they receive.

Please let me know if you’d like additional information on Dr. Knakal or the study.

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Michael Carrese
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