Starting Your Caregiver Journey

The Defense Health Board, The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center and The Department of Veterans Affairs
Starting Your Caregiver Journey

You are starting out on an important journey in your life — becoming a family caregiver to someone who has a traumatic brain injury (TBI). You can help your service member/veteran recover as fully as possible.

You may be feeling overwhelmed, angry, or scared. You may also feel alone and worn out by your new role.

Please learn about TBI. Take good care of yourself while caring for your service member/veteran. Keep hope alive during your journey toward recovery.

What Is the Course of Recovery?

Recovery from TBI is a gradual process. It may take weeks, months, or even years. Those with a TBI may need assistance for weeks to months. Some will need help for the rest of their lives. For those in a minimally conscious state, some may need long-term care outside of your home.

Each TBI is different. Each person needs different help and support from his or her caregiver.

How Important Is My Caregiving?

Caregivers play an important role in recovery. In fact, many people who work with TBI patients believe that having a caregiver just like you is one of the most important aids to recovery. Your job is to actively follow the treatment plan and offer guidance and help to your injured family member.

Learn all you can about TBI. The following suggestions may help you:

  • Ask questions of the doctors, nurses, and other health care providers.
  • Classes or online discussion groups may be helpful.
Posted on BrainLine July 10, 2012.

The Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans provides comprehensive information and resources caregivers need to care and advocate for their injured loved one and to care for themselves in the process. The Guide was developed by the Defense Health Board, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Click here for a pdf of the full guide, or see it here on the DVBIC site.