Brain injury Support

“Together in Brain Injury Support” Helps
Brain Injury Survivors and Caregivers


A collaboration between the Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center and the Coast Caregiver Resource Center (CCRC) called “Together in Brain Injury Support” bridges the gap between survivor and caregiver needs.


Each organization brings specific strengths to the partnership. One of 11 publicly funded regional Caregiver Resource Centers, CCRC (a program of Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital) provides education, assessments, direct services and referrals in response to the needs of those who care for survivors of brain injury. Jodi House, a non-profit organization that helps brain injury survivors rebuild their lives, focuses on the needs of the survivors themselves.


“Our mission is to provide support to unpaid caregivers, such as friends, family members or others in the community who are caring for someone with an adult neurological impairment,” says Mary Sheridan, MA, LMFT, executive director, CCRC.

Robert Harbaugh, MD, neurologist and neurophysiologist (center), spoke on the “Ecology of Caregiving” at Coast Caregiver Resource Center’s 25th Anniversary Celebration held at Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital in Santa Barbara. Also pictured: Melinda Staveley, MS, vice president of Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital (right), and Mary Sheridan, MA, LMFT, executive director of Coast Caregiver Resource Center (left). CCRC has provided services to family caregivers in Ventura, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties for more than a quarter of a century.


“Because brain impairment often restricts a person’s ability to care for himself or herself, we assess the strengths and needs of family members or other informal caregivers who find themselves in the role of providing assistance.”


Based on an initial needs assessment, CCRC provides a range of potential support, which may include caregiver support groups, consultation and counsel- ing, information and education, respite care, and retreats.



“So often, caregivers’ needs are invisible in the healthcare system. No one asks, ‘How are you doing?’ or ‘How can we help you do this job?’ Having someone recognize their needs is such a wave of relief for caregivers.”

—Mary Sheridan, MA, LMFT

executive director, Coast Caregiver Resource Center



“About 75 percent of long-term care is provided by unpaid family or friend caregivers at home in the community rather than in a facility,” Sheridan says. “Support often comes at great cost to the person providing care. That cost can take many different forms, including financial burden, physical toll and emotional stress.


“At CCRC, we help caregivers identify the resources they already have, not only financial assets but also emotional and practical strengths they may not realize,” she continues. “Then we look at their needs and help them identify resources in the community they can draw on, as well as specific services we can offer.”


An Environment of Support

Working in partnership with CCRC, Jodi House “squares the circle” in terms of ensuring that all families affected by brain injury have the support they need. Jodi House offerings include a clubhouse day program as well as a variety of therapeutic programs, including cognitive skill building, communication and memory strategies, art and music therapy, exercise, community outings, and prevocational training.


“We work with about 100 local agencies to obtain resources and referrals for rehabilitation, education, mental wellness, recreation, and community and social services,” says Gayle A. Cummings, MS, LEP, and a member of Jodi House board of directors.


“Brain injury can happen to anyone in an instant, and it lasts forever. In Santa Barbara County, more than 50 percent of our homeless population suffers from brain injury and 39 percent of our brain injury survivors are unemployed. At Jodi House, we help brain injury survivors return to work, find housing and successfully reintegrate into our community.”

— Gayle A. Cummings, MS, LEP

member, Jodi House board of directors



“Isolation, the biggest stressor for brain injury survivors, can lead to divorce, depression and suicide. Our program’s key focus is social integration in a safe, nurturing environment among other brain injury survivors. We also participate in return-to-work programs and have had success in job placements.” Although newly formed, the Together in Brain Injury Support partnership is already raising awareness about brain injury with a series of public educational workshops offered at Jodi House in Santa Barbara. Topics include “Building Caregiver Resilience” and “Coping With Brain Injury Changes.”


Another key aspect of Together in Brain Injury Support is the coordination of referrals between Jodi House and CCRC. Hospital discharge is a stressful, often overwhelming, time for patients and caregivers alike. As a result, several referrals may be necessary—with information often arriving at different points in time— before survivors and caregivers recognize, reach out and access all the services that are available to them. The new partnership makes navigating those sources of help just a little easier.


Serving different groups, both CCRC and Jodi House reach out to inform brain injury survivors and caregivers of the services available to them and direct them to the appropriate resources after hospital discharge.


CCRC serves caregivers (family, friends and community members) of people suffering from neurological impairment.


Jodi House serves the needs of persons 18 years or older who suffered either acquired or traumatic brain injury after age 13. Clients must be able to participate in activities and have basic skills for daily living.


Both organizations offer their services for free, although donations are accepted. Physicians, discharge planners and members of other community organizations may refer patients to both CCRC and Jodi House. Individuals may also access these services without a referral.

To learn more, please contact CCRC at (805) 488-6555, ext. 14, or Jodi House at (805) 563-2882.



For additional information or to refer a brain injury survivor, contact:

Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center

(805) 962-3600, ext. 14


For more information or to refer a person who is caring for a brain injury survivor in Santa Barbara, Ventura or San Luis Obispo Counties, contact:

Coast Caregiver Resource Center

(805) 962-3600, ext. 14 or

(888) 488-6555, ext. 14 (toll-free out of area)


For access to additional services available to caregivers from local centers throughout California, visit:

California Caregiver Resource Centers


<< Return to Fall 2013 issue


>> Download PDF