What is the role of family interventions in the treatment of postconcussive syndrome (PCS)?

Updated: Jul 25, 2019
  • Author: Roy H Lubit, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

The changes in personality, especially apathy, irritability, and aggression, in patients with head injury are especially burdensome to caregivers, family, or professional care providers. Head injuries cause more family distress than bodily injuries of equivalent severity. Counseling for caregivers is essential. When the patient is demented, interpreting impairments as organic and insisting on the legitimacy of the sick role are needed to relieve blame and guilt.

Even when the caregiver understands the person's behavior is not within his or her control, the patient's slowness, inappropriateness, and erratic responsiveness can be exasperating or even frightening. Family members become isolated from usual support, especially when the person's impairments are severe, protracted, or fixed. Direct communication between the caregiver and the physician allows caregivers to vent their feelings and voice their concerns. Problem-solving interventions and referral to support groups for family members improve morale and enhance patient outcome. Regular staff or team meetings sustain morale in professional caregivers.


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