What Family Caregivers Face in the Years Beyond Severe Brain Injury

July 8, 2014
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Guest Information

Episode Description

Rolf Gainer, Ph.D., Diplomate ABDA, the Vice President of Rehabilitation Institutes of America, is also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario (Canada), http://www.nrio.com/. He serves as the Chief Executive Officer at Brookhaven Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, http://www.traumaticbraininjury.net/. He describes his career, experience with family caregiving and his work with serious head injuries. He highlights what begins when the person with the serious head injury survives the first night after the injury: challenges to physical and mental health, wellbeing and social contact, changes in the challenges as the person ages, and how the changes challenge family caregivers. He explains how the challenges can be overcome. He says what he would like to do and see done to help persons living and aging with the challenges of serious head injuries, and done to help their family caregivers. He shares his message for family caregivers.

Family Caregivers Unite!

Family Caregivers Unite!

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Family caregivers are the people who provide care to partners, parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors and even co-workers. They are the people who provide care when everyone else has gone home. They are the people who organize the functioning of the home for the person with special needs, and for the family as a whole. They are the coordinators of care, the managers of appointments, the preventers of loneliness, and the makers of decisions even to the point of Power of Attorney. And they are so often people who themselves are burdened with their own health challenges and who may be in only marginally better health than the persons to whom they are providing family caregiving.

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Dr. Gordon Atherley

Dr. Gordon Atherley

Dr Gordon Atherley holds the British equivalent of the Canadian PhD and MD degrees, and LLD, Honoris Causa, from Canada’s Simon Fraser University. His awards include Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. His medical specialties are occupational medicine and public health.
As first President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the Canadian equivalent of the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, he led the creation of Canada’s electronic information service in occupational health and safety, now used in more than 40 countries.
In academia, he held senior, tenured, full-time positions, including departmental chair, in university faculties of physics, engineering, and medicine. He is the author of a textbook and numerous articles and publications.

Since retiring from medical practice, he’s built up Greyhead Associates, which critically researches the safety, effectiveness and fairness of health services for persons with special needs.
Through Virtual Care International, a company of which he’s President, he’s involved in providing sensible technology to family caregivers to help them with their responsibilities, workloads, and concerns.
Now an activist, he urges family caregivers to unite because, more and more, it’s not just their families who depend on them, it’s also the healthcare system as a whole, as it struggles to meet more and more needs of more and more people.

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