Category Description:

Compassion fatigue is a term used to describe the secondary traumatic stress that often affects caregivers over time. These blog articles discuss the symptoms of compassion fatigue and suggest strategies to avoid it and to manage symptoms.

BRAIN INJURY JOURNEY BULLETIN: “Caregivers – The Visible/Invisible TBI Support Network”

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Living with a brain injury, for the survivor and the caregiver, is a process of exploration. There are no ready-made answers. Instead, caregivers and survivors – you – have to find your path together. During this exploration phase, the common goal is to help the person with the brain injury regain control of his life. All want him to manage his life and shape it to the best of his ability. In other words, the common goal is to help the person with the brain injury regain autonomy.

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Their War Came Home A documentary by veterans for veterans

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Developed to help veterans and their families recognize and understand the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), this 50 minute documentary produced by Korean and Vietnam veterans Norm Seider, Carl Ohlson, and John Drinkard features the voices of veterans who have returned home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans describe the impact of the invisible wounds of post traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury and the effects on them and their families. Chronicling destructive cycles of depression, self medication, alcohol, and addiction, veterans and clinicians examine the search for a “new normal” after the devastation of war.

No matter how or where you served as a veteran, no matter how long ago or recently you came home… this documentary is for you, your family and those who care about you.

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Heartfelt Support for Family Caregivers by Barbara Stahura, CJF

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Family caregivers face multiple emotional and physical demands. This article shares the experiences of two families who faced these challenges from the TBI suffered by their veteran spouse. Hearts of Valor is one organization providing support for family caregivers dealing with the effects of TBI and PTSD in wounded veterans.

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Take the Danger Out of TBI Caregiver Anger by Janet Cromer

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The anger of the TBI caregiver is too often ignored by family, friends and even professionals. While clinicians focus on helping the person with a brain injury whose ability to control anger has been affected, who helps the TBI caregiver whose anger is often not even acknowledged. Janet Cromer explores why it is important to recognize that this anger is real and gives strategies for TBI caregivers to manage that anger. By recognizing what trigger TBI caregiver anger, she helps caregivers respond with positive strategies.

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Five Foundation Skills for the Resilient Caregiver by Janet M. Cromer, RN, MA, LMHC

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Caregiving for a family member who has a brain injury – whether it be a spouse, sibling, parent, or child – is stressful. Whether you are a new caregiver or an experienced caregiver, these five foundations skills can improve your health and resilience. Janet Cromer explains how to use self-compassion to care for yourself, how to counterbalance your stress response, and how to live mindfully. She explores the importance of connections with others for support and outlets to express your creativity. By using these skills, caregivers are better equipped to deal with the uncertainty and loss of control that is so often inherent in caregiving.

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Preventing and Healing Compassion Fatigue by Janet M. Cromer, RN, LMHC, CCFE

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Compassion fatigue is a form of complete exhaustion that results from the prolonged stress of caring for a very sick or traumatized person. Compassion fatigue depletes our physical, emotional, and spiritual reserves, so interventions must replenish those dimensions. It even interferes with how the body and mind function. Living with this extreme stress is dangerous because it can contribute to medical illness, mood disturbances, behavior changes, and substance abuse. Compassion fatigue builds up slowly as the stress response stays in overdrive for weeks, or even months.

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Mapping New Directions in Caregiving by Janet M. Cromer, RN, MA, LMHC

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Janet Cromer has professional and personal experience as a caregiver. Having survived caring for her husband after his anoxic brain injury, she uses her expertise to help families recognize and manage the stresses and rewards of caregiving, especially when faced with the cognitive, social and behavioral changes that so often accompany a traumatic or acquired brain injury.

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Janet Cromer Interviewed on Brain Injury Radio

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This week I had the pleasure of being a guest of Kim Justus, host of the Recovery Now show, on Brain Injury Radio. Kim is a brain injury survivor and very knowledgeable about the issues affecting survivors, family members, and professionals. We talked about my experiences as a spousal caregiver for my husband Alan and my book Professor Cromer Learns to Read: A Couple’s New Life after Brain Injury.

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Self-Compassion for Caregivers — Try a Little Tenderness

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If you are a family caregiver for a person who has a brain injury this scene might look familiar. You are sitting in the physical therapy waiting room and can’t help sneaking glances at that couple across the room. The young husband, Sam, sits slumped in his wheelchair, speaks slowly with garbled phrases and jabs at his communication board to convey that he needs a drink of water. His shaved head is crossed with heavy sutures, and his left arm hangs limply. His wife, Sally, bends forward patiently, offering him words, her forehead furrowed with the effort to understand him and make him comfortable. Their three year old son entertains himself by tossing magazines in the air as he sings.

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Compassion Fatigue: When Caring Hurts Too Much – Part Two

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Prevention is the best strategy. At the heart of compassion resilience you’ll find intention, connection, and the ability to shift from a stress response to a more relaxed response. These skills won’t take away the problems you face, but they may help you to be a stronger and healthier caregiver.

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