Dr. Rolf B. Gainer discussed what family caregivers go through when caring for a loved one with severe brain injury in a recent interview conducted by Dr. Gordon Atherley. Dr. Gordon Atherley founded Family Caregivers Unite!, a social media project in 2010. He uses his live internet talk radio show to connect with caregivers and to provide information and support. His most recent episode features a discussion with our Chief Executive Officer of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute at Brookhaven Hospital and founder of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario, Dr. Rolf B. Gainer.
Dr. Gainer discussed the challenges faced by the individual with brain injury as well as the caregiver beginning with what he calls the “chain of miracles.” The “chain of miracles” begins with the individual living through the first night after sustaining the injury, and questions stream in after that about to what degree the person will recover. In his interview, he and Dr. Atherley discussed the degree to which brain injury as a disability meets the definition of a chronic disease as developed by the World Health Organization. Dr. Gainer also talks about the ongoing grieving process on the part of both the individual and the caregiver as they learn to adjust to the new reality, cope with losses and changes and relating to one another in a new way. Throughout his decades of specializing in the treatment of brain injury, Dr. Gainer has repeatedly heard from family members in reference to their loved one, “They’re not the same person.” The injured individual is also often aware of this, and it contributes to the person’s social isolation and loneliness.
Dr. Gainer goes on to explain that there is hope. Positive change can occur for the individual years post-injury. He provides valuable tips for caregivers, and looks to the future suggesting changes to our healthcare system.
Click here to listen to the episode featuring Dr. Gainer’s conversation with Dr. Gordon Atherley. Be sure to listen to the end to hear Dr. Gainer’s heartfelt and encouraging message for family caregivers.