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Saban KL, Hogan NS, Hogan TP, Pape TL. He Looks Normal But … Challenges of Family Caregivers of Veterans Diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury. Rehabilitation Nursing : The Official Journal of The Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. 2015 Sep 1; 40(5):277-85.
PURPOSE: To describe the experience of family caregivers providing care to veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI). DESIGN/METHODS: Using a qualitative design, interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of women caregivers. Data were analyzed using content analysis procedures. FINDINGS: Findings resulted in the key concept phrased by participants as "He looks normal but." This phrase conceptualizes the participants' description of their experience caring for a brain injured veteran who could appear normal to others but the caregiver's description revealed substantial cognitive, social, and emotional deficits. Concepts include (a) Becoming aware of his disabilities, (b) Observing his troubling symptoms, (c) Dealing with his memory loss, (d) Being fearful of his anger, (e) Sensing his loneliness, (f) Acknowledging the effects on the children, and (g) Managing the best I can. CONCLUSIONS/CLINICAL RELEVANCE: A better understanding of the needs of caregivers of veterans with TBI may allow clinicians to better support caregivers.