The Caregiver's Journey

Before the Transition

The transition to home can be an exciting step, but it also can be stressful. Remember, you do not have to do it all yourself. Plan and prepare before your family member comes home.

If possible, try a practice weekend at home. A practice weekend will alert you to how much help you may need. Talk with your healthcare team about the transition to home and make a plan.

You are providing a very important service to someone you care about.

While managing TBI care at home, you may be: 

  • Tracking treatments, and 
  • Managing medications

Organizing: 

  • Your caregiving tasks 
  • Supportive family members and friends who can help 
  • Your home life to take care of your service member/veteran with TBI

Asking others for help is not a sign of weakness and it makes good sense. Asking for help is a good way to find resources that will support you and your service member/veteran throughout the recovery period.

Before your service member/veteran with TBI goes home from the hospital:

  • Ask the Point of Contact (POC), case manager(s), VA liaison, and/or military liaison about resources your family member will qualify for from the federal, state, and local government.
  • With the help of your healthcare team, write a master schedule for your family member. 
  • Ask for a written list of all therapy and exercises (diagrams or pictures of the exercises) to be done at home.
  • Ask for help. Seek out people who offered to help and ask them to be available.
  • Identify services available in your community you can contact for help. The National Resource Directory may be helpful. Local brain injury, veterans support groups, and chapters of the Brain Injury Association can also be good resources.
  • Prepare yourself and your home before your family member with TBI arrives. If your family member has physical disabilities, your healthcare team may be able to do a home safety evaluation.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and some charities have programs that will modify your  home to accommodate your service member/veteran’s needs.
  • Decide what projects and chores can be put off for a while; give yourself permission not to do it all.
  • Make a list of the assistive devices your family member is using in the hospital. Ask the case manager to make sure you will have the same assistive devices at home. Be sure you have prescriptions written for devices needed at home.
  • Know who on the healthcare team to call for what and post it at home. Organize contact information for the healthcare team.
  • Make plans to give yourself a break each day. Have someone come to the house, so you can get out for a breather.

What to Expect:

  • Know that your family member with TBI will do best with structure, consistency, and a schedule.
  • Stick to your master schedule, so you don’t have to rely on your memory during this time of transition.
  • People with TBI often get more confused. Their behaviors and cognition problems may appear worse for a while after a change even if it’s a good change. Your family member will settle in over time, just as you will.