Is It Possible to Heal After a Brain Injury?

Registered Nurse Reveals What's in Store

BETHESDA, MD--(Marketwire - Jun 27, 2011) - Janet Cromer has a good idea of what Mark Kelly will be doing in his retirement.

Former Space Shuttle astronaut Kelly, who just retired from NASA, said he will now focus his time and attention on his wife's recovery. One expert is uniquely qualified to predict some of the challenges they both will face.

"My husband, Alan, suffered a severe brain injury as the result of a heart attack and cardiac arrest," said Janet Cromer, a career RN and healthcare writer who specializes in brain injury. "Mark is going to have a dual role as spouse and caregiver and he is going to be as much a part -- if not more -- of his wife's recovery as any doctor working on her case."

Cromer is also author of "Professor Cromer Learns to Read: A Couple's New Life after Brain Injury" (, a chronicle of how she tended to her husband's recovery. Her 35 years in healthcare, along with her journey as a caregiver, led her to create the following tips for helping brain injury survivors:

  • Prepare for a Long Mission -- Cognitive rehab usually starts in the hospital or outpatient setting. But that's just the beginning. Healing and recovering from a brain injury can take a long time. Many people can continue to make progress in specific ways for months and years with ongoing treatment, motivation, and practice.
  • Take Breaks -- The brain consumes an enormous amount of energy while concentrating and relearning material. Build frequent rest breaks into sessions. Take days off from intensive rehab work. We stopped our "rehab week" on Friday at 5 PM and just enjoyed the weekend. The brain also benefits from time to let new information settle in.
  • Set Realistic Goals -- Set a few realistic goals. Alan cared most about learning to read and write, so our goals reflected his priorities. Make your goal measurable. For example, "Alan will write three sentences in his log book five days a week."
  • Enjoy -- Revel in hope and love -- a new relationship and life can flourish when nurtured with hope and love.

About Janet Cromer

Janet Cromer, RN, MA, LMHC, has a career that spans thirty-five years as a medical and psychiatric RN, twenty-three years as a licensed psychotherapist, and seven years as an award-winning healthcare writer.

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