Traumatic Brain Injury Training For Compensated Caregivers: Experiences In North Carolina

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emily Fender (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Louise Keegan

Abstract: Purpose: Individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) often experience cognitive deficits that result in difficulties with language and social skills. While direct Speech and Language Therapy can help with these difficulties, there is increasing support for implementing other intervention methods (e.g. environment modification and communication partner training). Training communication partners of individuals with TBI has proven to be an extremely effective means of intervention for this population, however there has been limited research that has specifically examined paid caregivers and the training they receive as communication partners. This study aimed to evaluate the current state of communication training among professional caregivers in North Carolina. Method: A total of 13 caregiver participants completed an online anonymous survey that gathered information regarding their demographics, completed training programs, understanding of communication difficulties associated with TBI as well as useful strategies for communication, common conversational contexts, confidence in communicating, and desire for additional training. Their responses were qualitatively analyzed. Conclusions: It was found that the majority of the caregivers were female and had some form of higher education. Most had been employed with individuals with TBI for 5 years or less and only currently served one or two individuals with TBI. They worked in a variety of settings and their job titles could be described as either “Administrative Staff” or “Direct Support Staff”. Although participants reported completion of training programs about TBI, programs that had a focus towards communication were limited. The participants as a group were knowledgeable about communication difficulties of individuals with TBI and useful communication strategies and all of the respondents recognized that individuals with TBI suffer socially due to their injury. Overall, there was a high level of perceived self-confidence in their ability to communicate effectively with individuals with TBI, although participants were also still open to receiving additional communication training. The two most commonly preferred forms of training included an in-person seminar or an online training format. This paper discusses the implications for future training of these professionals in both direct support and administrative positions.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Fender, E. (2017). "Traumatic Brain Injury Training For Compensated Caregivers: Experiences In North Carolina." Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2017
traumatic brain injury, caregiver, training, communication, speech-language pathology

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