Family and Caregivers

Family members and caregivers play an important role in the care and rehabilitation of individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Most people who have sustained a TBI recover significantly in the first few months following injury. In fact, more than 85 percent of people with a concussion, also known as a mild TBI, recover completely within weeks to months with minimal intervention.

Those with moderate, severe, or penetrating injury are also expected to make some improvement, although the recovery process in these cases may take longer and be more unpredictable. The social support friends and family give plays an important role in the recovery of those with TBI. This section is devoted to families and friends, who play a critical role in supporting the health and well-being of individuals with TBI recognizing the emotional, physical and financial toll that is so often associated with caregiving.

TBI may cause physical, cognitive and behavioral changes that can be difficult to adapt to for both the individual and family members. These changes are usually temporary, but in some cases recovery becomes a lifelong process of adjustments and accommodations for the injured person and the family. People with TBI can lead joyful and meaningful lives with the aid of friends and loved ones who can provide ongoing support and encouragement. Research has found a direct relationship between a family’s ability to adapt and cope with trauma and the patient’s success with rehabilitation and reintegration.

Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Deshawn Byers kisses his daughter during a homecoming celebration for the frigate USS De Wert in Mayport, Fla., on March 10, 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist Second Class Jacob Sippel)

Milder symptoms may require family members to adapt only to a few changes in their loved ones. More severe symptoms may require family members to take on the role of caregiver, or share that responsibility with others temporarily or on a continual basis.