Monday, February 19 , 2018, 2:24 am | Fair 48º


Jodi House Joins Forces with Coast Caregiver Resource Center

Groundbreaking collaboration will provide brain injury support for survivors, families and caregivers

Demonstrating that it takes a village to re-establish life after stroke or brain injury, the Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center and Coast Caregiver Resource Center, a program of Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital, announce that they have joined forces in a new collaboration project to assist survivors, families and caregivers.

The collaboration effort Together in Brain Injury Support will serve a greater number of individuals living in Santa Barbara faced with the daunting physical, emotional, behavioral and social effects of brain injury.

Surviving a stroke, traumatic or other acquired brain injury is a life-changing event for both survivors and the individuals who care for them. The collaboration, made possible through a grant funded by Cottage Health System, will assist in making solutions, resources and support more readily available to meet the diverse needs of the brain injury community. Key components of Together in Brain Injury Support are education, emotional support and socialization. The new partnership between Jodi House and CCRC will leverage each organization’s unique skills and strengths.

Working one-on-one with individuals in the community, CCRC offers a lifeline to caregivers who are the spouses, siblings, parents, adult children and friends who often find themselves ill-equipped to tend to loved ones after brain injury. Jodi House serves as the hub in Santa Barbara for brain injury survivors, providing classes, activities, referrals and a supportive, friendly environment. At the facility, caregivers can also connect with other caregivers facing similar challenges.

By creating greater awareness, Together in Brain Injury Support aims to increase referrals to Jodi House and decrease the gap in time it takes for community members to make initial contact with their staff.

“We are excited to have formed this collaboration with CCRC and CRH to enable Jodi House to impact the lives of more brain injury survivors faster,” Jodi House Executive Director Carrie Bissell said. “Currently, there are approximately 5,000 brain injury survivors in Santa Barbara County, yet we are only reaching about 10 percent. On average, it takes eight years for survivors and their families to find Jodi House. This collaboration is allowing us to broaden our reach and help more brain injury survivors and their families.”

Reaching out to caregivers is another central aspect of the program. CCRC Executive Director Mary Sheridan, MA, MFT, notes that caregivers and their particular needs are often overlooked, yet play a vital role in the recovery process.

“Family and friends caring for a loved one with a traumatic or other acquired brain injury are often the invisible lynchpin that makes it possible for the injured person to receive care at home rather than in an institution,” she said. “There can be devastating effects which forever change the lives of those providing care, putting them at much higher risk for stress- related medical and mental health problems compared to their non-caregiving peers.”

Together in Brain Injury Support includes routine follow-up and emotional support for patients as well as for their families and caregivers following discharge from Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital. The program provides outreach to all other survivors, families and caregivers throughout south Santa Barbara County, from Carpinteria to the Santa Ynez Valley.

The collaboration offers resources and referral information tailored to individual needs and provides education, counseling and support groups for survivors and family/friend caregivers. Eligible brain injury survivors have access to the Clubhouse Program at Jodi House including participation in a variety of classes such as yoga, brain workout, percussion, memory strategies, communication skills, peer support groups and more. Caregivers may also attend classes with Jodi House members.

An innovative educational series has been launched to address the needs of individuals who care for stroke and brain injury survivors. The free workshops will be held at Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center and led by Sheridan. Together in Brain Injury Support kicked off its first workshop, “Building Caregiver Resilience,” on Monday.

As part of this collaborative project, Jodi House and CCRC will also develop educational programs for health-care and social service professionals to benefit the long-term survival of TBI and stroke patients.

— Carrie Bissell is executive director the Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center.

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