Are you caring for a loved one who has been diagnosed with PTSD and/or TBI? There are many programs that can help your loved ones learn to live with PTSD and that offer you coping skills and relational techniques to help you and your loved one live with the injuries of war. These programs fall into a number of categories, all of which might be helpful to you as a caregiver and to the person you’re caring for: psychological/emotional, recreational, spiritual, and more. You may have heard of some of these, including mindfulness techniques, equestrian therapy, sports therapy, meditation, yoga, and psychological counseling. I will be addressing each of these in upcoming blogs.

laptop, paper, pen & coffee

I’ve listed some of these below as examples of well-known programs, but ask that you leave comments at the end of this post to share your thoughts about or direct experiences with these, or any other treatment programs that have helped you and the person in your care. I haven’t had direct experience with the organizations listed below, but these programs can be applied for through the Wounded Warrior Project’s Warrior Care Network:

Intensive Clinical Program (ICP) at the Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA)
• Road Home Program at Rush University Medical Center (Chicago, IL)
• Operation Mend (UCLA: Los Angeles, CA)

Another program that helps veterans with PTSD and TBI is the Shepherd Center’s SHARE Program. The SHARE Program is located in Atlanta, GA, but offers help to families nationwide. The program pays all costs for transportation, lodging/food and treatment for veterans who are accepted into the program. Participants spend between 6 – 12 weeks in the program, depending on the pre-assessment. A distinguishing feature of the SHARE Program is that it assigns each veteran a full-care treatment team that includes a nurse, physical therapist, medical doctor, occupational therapist, psychologist, speech/language pathologist, vocational rehabilitation specialist, recreational therapist, and case manager. When my husband, Lenny, participated in the program, the team maintained an open door policy with me at all times, which allowed me to meet with them anytime I felt the need to discuss my husband’s progress throughout his stay in the program.

GA Aquarium Dive

During Lenny’s time in the Share Program, I was able to participate in discussions on effective coping techniques, medication management, treatment management on his discharge, and related issues. We both received phenomenal support throughout his time there. On one occasion, his recreational therapist, other veterans currently in the program (cohorts), their family members and I went to the Georgia Aquarium, where my husband and his cohorts swam with the whale sharks.

Interview with Jeff Corwin, caregiver & Cohorts

At this event, my husband, his cohorts and I were interviewed by Jeff Corwin’s team for his TV series, “Ocean Mysteries: Journey With Gentle Giants.” I was in awe as Lenny swam in a huge tank with the largest fish in the world! His experience swimming with the whale sharks created vivid “good” memories, which we all hoped would erase some of his bad memories of war. Lenny still needs care for his PTSD and his mild TBI, but as an alum of the Shepherd Center’s Share Program he can continue to return to the Center for follow-up care.

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