This project was developed by Mark Palmer to validate his belief that the best source of answers to help improve the quality of life of brain injury survivors and their families were those living a life touched by brain injury. The process of validation began with asking random individuals to share both their experiences and recommendations on living life with a brain injury. I asked survivors, family members and caregivers to share their stories. I was then able to create a database to mine the data. The outcome of this project is as a result of these individuals who openly contributed their stories.
The Realities of Today
Today, when the medical system proclaims TBI patients “recovered”, they are discharged, leaving a medical care system to which they have become accustomed to dictating each step of their treatment. The injured family now finds themselves in charge. The survivor and family are left with little or no understanding of the challenges that they face or how to face them. Lack of understanding and direction often turns to hopelessness.
Lacking hope for a better future, survivors and families find alternate solutions. The statistics on the correlation between TBI and the social challenges of suicide, divorce, domestic violence, homelessness, substance abuse and unemployment are staggering.
Most survivors and family members will experience the “91st day” or “Aha Moment”. It is the day of realization that their life has been changed and they are expected to find a path forward without an instruction book. It is the day where hope for the future is questioned, opening up a path to hopelessness.
The injured party is far broader than the survivor. The entire ecosystem of the survivor has been injured and all their lives have been changed forever.
Survivors and family members look to the medical system to provide guidance – guidance that they are not prepared to provide. The medical system does not have an instruction book on how to live with a brain injury.
Most current programs are focused on the survivor, often becoming a place to find common misery.
If brain injury programs were modified to address these findings, the quality of life for the survivor and family will be improved. As a vision is created for one’s tomorrow to be better than today, hopelessness would be reduced resulting in a decrease in the social issues that impact the overall community.
The Start

  • Move Realistic Hope to the forefront of the program – starting the programs prior to the release from acute care.
  • Offer programs for the ecosystem, including role specific and stage specific programs for each member of the ecosystem.
  • Provide individual specific roadmaps, providing a path to a better quality of life.
  • Educate the community on the impact of brain injury.
  • Measure the impact of the programs in existing quality of life measurements.
  • Ask the funding sources for TBI research to broaden their support by also funding research on how to live a fulfilling life that has been touched by a brain injury.

The Future
Build online course content to provide program structure for other brain injury support organizations, expand the database to build a larger model – letting those who have already “been there, done that” help others trying to find a way.
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