Caregivers Need Support, Too

[Dr. Herman Lukow II] Sometimes we'll bring the caregiver. Sometimes we're requested to counsel the couple—the survivor and the spouse. The spouse most often is the caregiver, as well. Sometimes the whole family. It's hard—initially it's all about—again—education. Many of the caregivers and spouses have self-educated and have really got quite a bad education. But it's still trying to—many times—convince them—help them come to the realization—develop the insight that those deficits and those issues that the survivor are real. I mean—you're overcome with stress and all the work, and this has taken up your whole life for so long. It's just real easy—I think—many times for some of those folks to realize that this isn't just something the person is electing to always forget on purpose. They're not electing to leave their dirty socks on the floor everyday because they're lazy. There's a real deficit—an impairment—that just hasn't come back yet. That's one of them. The other is to try to instill a sense of hope. To say that, "You being here is a step in the right direction. It means that you know how to reach out and ask for help," and that's very important because caregivers and spouses and members of families—they need support for their resilience, as well. They're faced by the same disruption and the same need to have this—to work on having a positive outcome because of this threat. The survivor has got a whole platoon of doctors and nurses and therapists, and that 15-year-old at home may have no one.

Dr. Herman Lukow talks about how people with TBI have a platoon of doctors and therapists to help in their recovery, but the caregiver has virtually no one. There are ways to remedy this.

View more videos with Herman Lukow, PhD.

Herman Lukow

Herman R. Lukow II, PhD, NCC is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at VCU Medical Center.  He also provides counseling and psychotherapy to individuals, couples, and families coping with the effects of brain injury.

Posted on BrainLine September 18, 2013.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough, Justin Rhodes, and Lara Collins, BrainLine.