Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

DHA’s TBI-focused Caregiver & Family Member Study continues at TBICoE

Image of A husband, wife, and two children sitting at the Warrior and Family Support Center. Genette Burges spends time with her husband Dan and children at the Warrior and Family Support Center at Joint Base San Antonio (Photo by: Lori Newman, Brooke Army Medical Center).

For the family members of some service members or veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), caregiving is a 24/7 job. Those who live this daily life of caring for others are celebrated today with National Caregivers Day.

This may include assistance with daily activities, social interaction, and financial management. Without proper resources, these essential responsibilities can take a physical and psychological toll on the caregiver and the rest of their family.

In 2010, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, now known as the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, launched the Caregiver and Family Member Study. This 15-Year Longitudinal TBI Study, led by TBICoE researchers at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, Maryland is a congressionally mandated study that examines the effects of TBI incurred by service members. The specific focus of the study is on those who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom, and how those effects impact family members.

The Caregiver and Family Member Study aims to better understand the impact of the service member’s or veteran’s TBI on their family.

Now in its eleventh year, the Caregiver and Family Member Study has found that the time commitment and burden of caregiving is correlated with physical and psychological distress, poor sleep and disrupted family life. Frequently, caregivers balance their commitments toward their service member or veteran with childcare and other work duties, often receiving no help and having little time for themselves.

Caregivers also have unmet health care and care provision needs. These unmet needs can evolve to worse caregiver health and well-being.

However, the study also highlights that not all caregivers report negative outcomes. In fact, some report high levels of satisfaction and resilience and healthy family relationships.

Respite care, support groups, financial support, access to health care and training programs are critical for caregivers to manage the burdens of caregiving and to promote the recovery of the service member or veteran. Eligible caregivers can receive these services through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Caregiver Programs.

Since launching the study, TBICoE has spearheaded several efforts to educate and support TBI caregivers, such as the development of the TBI Caregiver Quality of Life (TBI-CareQOL) Measurement System. TBICoE researchers at the NICoE plan to use measures from the TBI-CareQOL and larger Caregiver and Family Member Study as a screening tool to identify family members of NICoE patients at risk of poor health-related quality of life and in need of behavioral health care.

In addition, TBICoE’s “A Head for the Future” initiative has recorded testimonies emphasizing the need for robust TBI caregiver education and resources.

Brian O’Rourke, a retired Navy chief petty officer who sustained multiple TBIs, said, “My number one caretaker for the rest of my life is my wife, so for her to understand that I have TBI and how to help me deal with it is huge.”

TBICoE and NICoE staff anticipate that one of the overall impacts of the study is that caregivers are supported in their roles long term and their own health and welfare needs are attended to.

The TBICoE Caregiver and Family Member Study is ongoing and currently recruiting caregivers of service members and veterans with TBI and PTSD (TBI and PTSD caregivers), and parents and spouses who are not caregiving (non-caregiver military family members). Those interested in participating should contact the study leads at dha.caregiver.study@mail.mil or by phone at 855-821-1469.

To find additional resources for TBI caregivers and family members, visit the TBICoE website.

You also may be interested in...

Topic
Feb 23, 2024

TBICoE Podcasts

TBICoE produces multiple podcast series focused on various TBI-related topics. Listen to, subscribe to or download episodes on DVIDS or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Topic
Feb 23, 2024

DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers

TBICoE is the Defense Department's office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. On this page you'll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. Armed Forces are located—with a TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Publication
Feb 23, 2024

Assessment and Management of Dizziness and Visual Disturbances Following Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

.PDF | 1.03 MB

This clinical recommendation provides medical staff with a single, comprehensive reference for the assessment and management of dizziness and visual disturbances following mild TBI/concussion. Dizziness and visual disturbances often present with overlapping symptoms and should prompt a provider to perform a visual and dizziness—or vestibular—assessment.

Publication
Feb 23, 2024

Progressive Return to Activity: Primary Care for Acute Concussion Management

.PDF | 472.50 KB

This clinical recommendation is an evidence-based return to activity protocol for primary care managers and concussion/traumatic brain injury clinic providers. The PRA is a six-step approach that begins after the provider performs the MACE 2 (Military Acute Concussion Evaluation 2) and the patient is diagnosed with a concussion, also known as a mild TBI.

Report
Feb 22, 2024

2000-2023 Q3 DOD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

.PDF | 1.47 MB

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. Here you’ll find data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. forces are located—with a first-time TBI diagnosis from calendar year 2000 through the third quarter of calendar year 2023. The data is also broken ...

Report
Feb 22, 2024

2023 Q3 DOD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

.PDF | 1.29 MB

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. Here you’ll find data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. forces are located—with a first-time TBI diagnosis in the third quarter of calendar year 2023. The data is also broken down by each branch of the ...

Report
Feb 22, 2024

2022 DOD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

.PDF | 1.19 MB

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. Here you’ll find data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. forces are located—with a first-time TBI diagnosis in the calendar year 2022. The data is also broken down by each branch of the armed services.

Calendar Event
Feb 16, 2024

Virtual Reality, "Walk and Talk" Therapy, and Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories: How Novel Interventions Can Improve the Care of Post-traumatic Stress

A NICOE educational offering with a guest speaker on Virtual Reality, "Walk and Talk" Therapy, and Reconsolidation of Traumatic Memories - part of 2024 BIAM event lineup.

Infographic
Feb 8, 2024

Brain Injury Awareness Month: Infographic

Brain Injury Awareness Month infographic, visit health.mil/BIAMonth.

Even a mild traumatic brain injury can impact mission readiness and the ability to deploy. #BeABrainWarrior by understanding the signs and symptoms of TBI and knowing when to seek care. TBI is treatable and recovery is possible. https://health.mil/BIAMonth #BIAMonth

Article Around MHS
Feb 5, 2024

U.S. Army Medical Research & Development Command Supports Development of Blast Injury Prevention Standard

 Researchers from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research used data collected during live fire training exercises to create accurate 3D simulations of blast overpressure exposures on virtual weapons crews to help training range managers, range safety officers and instructors position personnel to minimize their exposure to shock waves created by the firing of heavy weapons. The color coding indicates the blast pressure intensity as the wave expands and dissipates.

A new tool being developed by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command’s DOD Blast Injury Research Coordinating Office will help Service Members protect themselves from the effects of high-pressure shock waves created by heavy weapons when they are fired during training.

Video
Jan 31, 2024

Be a Brain Warrior: Protect. Treat. Optimize.

Be a Brain Warrior: Protect. Treat. Optimize.

The Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence is championing the theme 'Be a Brain Warrior: Protect, Treat, Optimize' during Brain Injury Awareness Month. The theme showcases the idea that service members, veterans, healthcare providers, caregivers, family members, and advocates can be warriors for brain health. Visit health.mil/BIAMonth to learn more.

Last Updated: July 11, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery