This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Relationships After TBI. Dr. Emilie E. Godwin discusses How Family Roles Change After TBI.

Well, after a brain injury the survivor needs to really be focused entirely on getting well, on learning new skills, on practicing new skills, on trying to regain old skills. And so therefore and for that reason and because of a number of the deficits that brain injury survivors might struggle with after a brain injury often survivors are not able to take on many of the responsibilities in the family that they had before. So an example might be if a mom has a brain injury if before she was the person who helped the kids with homework or helped the kids with their daily chores she might not have the organizational skills or the cognitive capacities to take on that job any more.

And so families pretty immediately have to reassign the roles that the survivor’s giving up. This is of course a challenge for their spouse or their partner because the partner already has other, their own roles that they’re managing, responsibilities that they’re managing. But they also, and they are also both now taking on the responsibility of managing the survivor’s wellness and recovery. And so on top of that the spouse or partner might have a significant amount of duties that the survivor’s had to give up. So that’s one way in which the responsibilities change.

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