Emotional and Psychological Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

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Many people think of nursing as a career which centers solely on patient care. While this is largely a component, nurses truly cast their influence over patients’ loved ones just as much as the patients themselves. Families of patients requiring intensive or long-term care, such as those who have suffered from a traumatic brain injury, often must undergo painstaking lifestyle changes to accommodate this care. These changes, combined with changing family roles, can drastically change the dynamics of family relationships. This is an important detail for nursing teams to keep in mind while caring for families in such situations. According to the study, “Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability across all age groups in the United States. Each year in the United States, an estimated 1.5 million people sustain a TBI. This is eight times the number of people diagnosed with breast cancer and 34 times the number of new cases of HIV/AIDS” (Kao & Stuifbergen, 2004). The goal of the study is to examine the relationship dynamic between young adult TBI patients and their primary caregiver (in this case, their mothers), and to describe the impact of traumatic brain injuries on survivors and their families. The findings concluded that TBI survivors were at high risk for experiencing relationship breakdown, and subsequently, developed depression and substance abuse problems. Their entire lives are forcefully restructured. The study notes that “High levels of psychosocial disability were reported even 10 to 15 years after injury” (Kao & Stuifbergen, 2004). It was also found that most socialization and support occurred within the family structure, rather than from friends. The changes that occur in the family members of TBI survivors are complex, and largely based on the individualities of each particular situation. These caretakers are also at risk for developing depression, as well as problems such as poor stress management and feelings of...
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