A recent study suggests that informal caregivers of injured US service members who have undergone acute rehabilitation for polytraumatic injuries, including traumatic brain injury (TBI) may require additional assistance to meet the injured service members’ needs. According to researchers, the study’s aim encompassed identifying informal caregivers to injured US service members following acute rehabilitation for polytraumatic injuries, primarily TBI. The study also reportedly sought to describe the prevalence and variation of care recipient and caregiver experiences.

Researchers report that the cross-sectional survey of caregivers encompassed 564 caregivers of service members with TBI who underwent inpatient rehabilitation at a Veteran’s Affairs polytrauma rehabilitation center between the years of 2001 and 2009. Participants reportedly answered questions regarding caregiver and patient characteristics, type, and quality of care currently being provided. The study’s results indicate that 79% of caregiving responsibilities fall primarily on women, 62% fall on a parent, and 32% of caregiving responsibilities fall on a spouse.

Following a median of 4 years after injury, researchers say, 22% of patients still required assistance with activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living. The results also indicate that 48% required assistance only with instrumental activities of daily living. Researchers add that 25% of caregivers reported more than 40 hours a week of care with another 20% indicating 5 hours to 40 hours per week of care. In regard to activities of daily living, 49% of caregivers reportedly provided care for less than 80 hours per week, with the sole responsibility of caregiving falling on 60% of caregivers. According to the results, many caregivers also provided care recipients with other forms of support, including emotional, physical health, and legal.

Researchers conclude that caregivers who must provide care recipients with either activities of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living may require additional resources in order to meet the care recipient’s long-term needs.

The study appears in The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, the official journal of the Brain Injury Association of America.

Source: The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation