Brain Waves: UAB Traumatic Brain Injury Model System Newsletter Volume 15 | Number 1

VOL 15 | NUM 1 2017 BrainWaves UAB Traumatic Brain Injury Model System Digital Newsletter Headline News The University of Alabama at Birmingham Traumatic Brain Injury Model System (UAB-TBIMS) provides Brain Waves twice annually as an informational resource for people with traumatic brain injury (TBI). UAB-TBIMS Program Director: Thomas Novack, PhD Brain Waves Editor: Phil Klebine, MA 529 Spain Rehabilitation Center 1717 6th Avenue South Birmingham, AL 35233-7330 Phone: 205-934-3283 TDD: 205-934-4642 Fax: 205-975-4691 WWW.UAB.EDU/TBI /UABTBIMS /UABTBIMS /UABTBIMS The contents of this publication were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90DP0044). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this publication do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government. ©2017 University of Alabama Board of Trustees. The University of Alabama at Birmingham provides equal opportunity in education and employment. Research In Focus, a weekly publication of the National Rehabilitation Information Center, recently featured two reader-friendly summaries from traumatic brain injury (TBI) research. In the first, researchers at the Northern California Traumatic Brain Injury Model System of Care evaluated two 12-week programs, an experimental walking program and a comparison program about nutrition. Half of the participants started with the walking program and then completed the nutrition program, and the other half completed the nutrition program first followed by the walking program. The researchers found that: • The walking program was effective in helping increase everyday walking. On average, participants took 30% more steps during the last week of the program than at the beginning of the program. • Average fatigue levels decreased between the beginning and end of the walking program. After the three months of no coaching, fatigue was still lower than at the beginning of the study. • The nutrition program had little effect on fatigue, and it did not matter whether the walking program was done before or after the nutrition program. In the second study, University of Washington Traumatic Brain Injury Model System researchers asked caregivers for adults with moderate or severe TBI to complete two interviews. One asked caregivers about their relationship with the TBI survivor, their participation in community activities, and their use of resources for support or services. The second was a telephone counseling intervention where caregivers learned problem-solving skills. The researchers found that: • Most caregivers had a close relationship with the TBI survivor where many were spouses or parents of the survivor. They had known the TBI survivor for an average of almost 25 years, and most lived with the TBI survivor or spoke to him or her up to several times per week. Most caregivers were female, while most TBI survivors were male. • Many caregivers reduced their own personal and financial involvement in activities after they began caregiving. Over the six months following discharge home, 77% of caregivers reported cutting back on leisure activities, 58% reported making financial sacrifices, 47% reported reducing school or work hours, and 43% reported taking at least a month off from school or work to devote more time to caregiving. • By 6 months after discharge, many caregivers were returning to work, school, and doing things they enjoyed. At that time, 45% of caregivers reported cutting back on leisure activities, 20% reduced their work or school hours, and 12% reported taking a month or more off of work or school. The financial outlook also slightly improved, with 43% reporting making financial sacrifices. • Caregivers were more likely to reach out to family and friends for support rather than tapping into more formal resources like caregiver support groups, counseling, or government-funded home healthcare assistance.