Caregiving after Brain Injury: A survival guide

Caregiving after Brain Injury: A survival guide

Carolyn Rocchio

Caregiving by a family member when a spouse, parent or child has an acquired brain injury can be rewarding and stressful. Few family members are prepared to become caregivers when a parent, spouse, sibling or child has a brain injury. Providing cognitive supervision, emotional support and physical help places caregivers at risk for stress, exhaustion and burnout. This tip card has practical tips for caregivers to prevent feeling overloaded, to develop coping strategies, find support and take care of themselves.

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Full Description

Caregiving for a family member with an acquired brain injury can be challenging and exhausting. Information on brain injury and tips on caregiving helps families prepare for caregiving at home and anticipate changes in caregiving over time. Identifies emotional and physical demands and stresses for spouses, parents and siblings who provide care and support. Emphasizes importance of caregivers looking after themselves with tips for decreasing stress, finding help, locating support and avoiding burnout.

Pages 8
Year Second edition, 2011


Carolyn Rocchio

As a spokesperson for families of survivors of brain injury and founder and past President of the Brain Injury Association of Florida, Carolyn Rocchio is internationally recognized for her compassion and expertise. Ms. Rocchio has written many articles for families and professionals on the consequences of brain injury and finding meaning in life after brain injury. Her list of achievements, honors and publications is lengthy. She is the voice of a mother who knows first hand about the compassion, endurance, hope and determination needed to move forward after brain injury.


This tip card helps families and caregivers…
  • develop caregiving techniques
  • understand cognitive needs for care
  • locate helpful resources
  • care for the caretaker
Caregiving by Families
  • A new type of caregiving
From Rehabilitation to Home

Changes over Time at Home and in the Community

Caregiver Check List for Services

Caregiver Burn Out or Overload

Resources for Caregiver Support

Respite Resources



A New Type of Caregiving

Mothers are the stereotypical caregivers used to nurturing family members through illnesses or after surgery. Famous American artist, Norman Rockwell, painted the mother/caregiver carrying hot soup to a sick child’s bedside. The bed was strewn with books and games to entertain the ailing child and there were bottles of medication on the table for a quick recovery.

Caregiving for a person with a brain injury is very different from that image. Most persons with a brain injury are not in bed for a long time. They may not even be sick or physically impaired. Their appearance of physical recovery or well-being often makes it harder for others to recognize their needs for assistance and support.

Caregivers find that changes in how an individual thinks and learns after a brain injury can make it more difficult for the person to initiate, organize, and follow through with what were previously very simple tasks such as:

  • bathing and personal care
  • dressing for weather conditions
  • structuring and planning daily activities
  • meal planning and preparation
  • time management
  • proper use of medication
  • transportation
  • recreation and socialization

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