A recent study of the relationship between caregiver/family functioning and traumatic brain injury (TBI) rehabilitation found that higher degrees of caregiver emotional health and stability translated to better patient outcomes.
The study, available online as of March 2012 in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, took place at the Brain Injury Research Center in Houston. Researchers adjusted their findings for age, education, gender, ethnicity and other potentially confounding factors.
Even with careful adjustments, they found a significant relationship between the emotional functioning of caregivers and greater social and occupational integration of traumatic brain injury patients. This relationship held as long as the individual with traumatic brain injury entered rehabilitative care within six months of the injury. TBI patients who entered rehabilitation programs more than six months after injury experienced no impact with regard to caregiver emotional function.
Researchers evaluated 136 patients with medically confirmed traumatic brain injury (57 percent of cases were classified as severe, 12 percent moderate, and 31 percent mild) along with their caregivers. Each patient was involved in one of three post-acute rehabilitation programs.
Participants were physically examined and questioned as part of the study. Those responses were integrated using accepted indices for measuring degree of disability and emotional/family functioning, including the Community Integration Questionnaire, the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique (CHART), the Brief Symptom Inventory-Global Severity Index (BSI-GSI), and the Family Assessment Device-General Functioning Scale (FAD-GFS).
For those cases where the primary caregiver is a family member, employers and carriers may want to consider an integrated program that helps alleviate monetary and personal stress for the caregiver. This may help expedite the injured person’s return to work and minimize the long term workers’ compensation costs.
For information about how Paradigm successfully manages traumatic brain injury cases, contact us via our website or call 888-621-6602. We also invite you to join our social communities on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.