Frequently Asked Questions
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain.
- TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue.
- When the brain is injured, the person can experience a change in consciousness that can range from becoming disoriented and confused to slipping into a coma.
- The person might also have a loss of memory for the time immediately before or after the event that caused the injury.
- Not all injuries to the head result in a TBI.
- There could be and there could not be. It depends upon the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the age and general health of the individual.
- Some common disabilities include:
- Problems with thinking, memory, and reasoning
- Problems with sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell
- Problems communication (expressing and understanding)
- Problems with behavior or mental health (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness).
Why is the study limited to caregivers of only post- 9/11 veterans or active service members?
TBI is now considered the "signature injury" of recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/ Operation New Dawn, OEF/OIF/OND), with 22% of returning troops experiencing a TBI. Veterans with TBI are typically cared for at home by a female (79%), parent (62%) or spouse (32%). Sixty percent of these caregivers receive little or no help from others. The study focuses on how caregivers cope.
Among seriously injured veterans, family members are often sole caregivers, and nearly half spend more than 80 hours per week in this role. Studies show that after acute care and rehabilitative services, TBI symptoms do not lessen over time, and are often perceived as burdensome, or associated with negative mental health outcomes among their family caregivers. Consequently, caregivers receive little or no help from others and are at increased risk for burden and depression. We want to learn what caregivers identify as stressors and see if Problem Solving Therapy can reduce the stress.
- The caregiver is the focus of this research study
- To learn what types of stressors or burdens that you have as a result of living with and caring for a post-9/11 veteran or service member with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- To learn what support you receive that helps you cope with your caregiving role and responsibilities.
- To help us understand if education or training about problem-solving improves the mental health and quality of life for family caregivers
You may be eligible to participate in this research study if you:
1) live with a post-9/11 veteran or active service member that has been diagnosed with a TBI
2) occasionally experience stress or burden associated withyour caregiving role
3) communicate in English
4) are 19 years or older
Will I be compensated if I participate in this study?
You will be compensated $20 each time you complete a study survey. You will be asked to complete up to five 30-60 minute surveys over an 18-month period (1.5 years). All participants will be compensated $20 each time the surveys are completed. Total compensation is $100 if all five survey sessions are completed.
Everyone will be asked to complete online surveys five times over an 18-month period. The online surveys take one hour or less and will ask about your emotional, physical, social health, caregiving responsibilities and burdens, and information about how you cope with stress in your life.
Those randomized into the "education" group will receive a study welcome kit containing information about problem-solving training (PST). You will be invited to participate in an optional webcam "meet and greet" session with your problem-solving training therapist. You will then begin nine one-on-one webcam PST education sessions with the trainer. The session will last 45 to 90 minutes.
Are there any possible dangers or risks from taking part in the study?
We anticipate no negative consequences in this study. It is possible however, that discussing what it's like to live with a veteran with TBI may evoke feelings of sadness.
If PST reduces burden levels and improves the mental health of family caregivers, this study will provide evidence to offer PST- based mental health services for distressed family caregivers of veterans with TBI through the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers of post-9/11 Veterans.
How fast does my Internet speed need to be?
For best video and audio with the PST trainer, an internet speed of 5 or higher is necessary. Test your bandwidth at www.speedtest.net. If you want to participate and have bandwidth less than 5, call your internet provider to see how they can help increase your bandwidth.
How will information from my participation be stored?
All study data will be kept confidential at all times and to every extent possible. Your name will never appear on any study surveys or PST session videotapes and your survey responses will only appear in statistical data summaries. You will be given a study identification (ID) number.
All data will be stored in encrypted files and password protected folders at Duquesne University's secure storage space. Only Dr. Garand and Dr. LaRue will have access to the raw data. Hard copies of any paper questionnaires will be secured in locked cabinets in the Duquesne University office.
At the completion of the study, all electronic data will be removed from storage, encrypted, and stored on a password protected hard drive. In accordance with University guidelines, the data wiil be kept secure for a minimum of three years at Duquesne University.
What is Problem Solving Training?
Problem Solving Training (PST) is practical education with a focus on solving current real-life problems.
- PST involves 9, 60-mintues face-to-face PST education sessions through the Internet.
- It requires collaboration between participant and interventionist