Brain Waves: UAB TBI Model System Volume 18 | Number 2 | Page 2


Caregiving after Traumatic Brain Injury – Understanding Burnout Caregiving for a family member who has a traumatic brain injury ( TBI ) offers many unique challenges . This is the third feature on meeting those challenges . Part 1 in this series aimed to help caregivers find a balance between taking care of yourself while caring for your loved one . You can also think of it as having a healthy relationship with yourself . Part 2 aimed to offer tips on managing some of the unique challenges of caring for a partner or spouse .

Here , the aim is to better explain caregiver burnout , how to help prevent it , and what to do if you experience burnout . This is an important toic because burnout is one of the most common problems caregivers face after TBI .
What causes caregiver burnout ?
Stress is the primary cause of burnout . Stress is the mental , emotional , and physical strains brought on by the demands and adversities that follow TBI .
What causes the stress ?
Caregiver stress is often in stages .
• Acute - Life is often chaotic during the early period after injury . There is worry and concern for the condition and recovery of the person with TBI . There is often stress over juggling work , family life , money issues , and many other normal life roles and issues that are disrupted in the aftermath of injury .
• There is usually a high level of support from others during this acute period .
• There is often a greater willingness by caregivers to ask for help and receive help from others .
• Grieving for the loss of the “ old normal ” is also common during this acute period .
• Chronic – Those worries , concerns and stress that you experience during the early period after TBI can also linger for months and years .
• The high level of support from others during the early period after injury often fades over time .
• There is often increasing isolation due to a declining willingness to ask for help and receive help from others .
• It becomes harder for caregivers to balance their personal physical and emotional health and well-being with that of the person with TBI .
• Some people may feel overwhelmed that they have lost control over their situation . How do I know if stress is becoming a problem ? Stress can quickly become a problem for people who ignore warning signs that stress is getting out of control . Continued stress puts people at higher risk for serious health problems including illness , addiction , and depression .
There are several signs and symptoms of stress that you can learn to recognize when stress might be getting out of control .
• The way you feel – you might

Get Involved In UAB Research !

Brave Initiative The University of Alabama in Birmingham ( UAB ) aims to improve the motor deficit of veterans who have sustained a traumatic brain injury . Potential participants must :
• be at least 19 years old and 3 months post TBI ;
• have movement problems or weakness of the arms , but the ability to make at least some limited movements with the more affected hand ;
• have no excessive pain ; and
• be able to undergo MRI
If you believe you meet the criteria above and would like to participate in this study , Go to the website , call 205-934-9768 , or email for more information .
Scale Up Project Evaluating Responsiveness to Home Exercise And Lifestyle Tele-Health ( SUPER-HEALTH ) This study evaluates the effects of an exercise program on improving pain , fatigue , physical activity , and physical function . The program is delivered through a tablet app in the convenience of the home using exercise videos .
Criteria to Participate
• Ages 18-64
• Mobility Impairment / Disability
• WiFi Internet access in Home
Participants receive a tablet and Fitbit to use during study and are eligible to keep all equipment at the completion of last study visit . Visit superhealthstudy . org , call ( 205 ) 403- 5509 , or email superhealthstudy @ uab . edu .
2 uab . edu / tbi