Group Supports Families of Brain Injury Patients

Pictured, from left, are James Young, MD, chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Tovah Silverman of the Department of Religion, Health and Human Values; Marvel Vena; Chaplain Ben Varnum and Irene Ziaya, MSW.

By Marvel Vena

I went to Dr. James Young in 2002 and asked him to help me start a brain injury family information group. Since then we have added an ethicist, a social worker and a chaplain to our facilitator group. This has been a wonderful experience for all of us. We have seen thousands of families since we started this one-of-a-kind group.

The goals of the neurosciences intensive care unit Family Information Group at Rush University Medical Center include:

  • Education: Because many families and significant others have little or no experience with brain injury, we provide a forum for their education, to address this lack of medical knowledge.
  • Empowering families and significant others to be as involved in the treatment of the patient by helping them formulate questions for the treatment team.
  • Engaging the family and significant others in planning for the next steps.

This group offers help for families with loved ones in Rush’s neurosciences intensive care unit on 8 Kellogg, neurology on 3 Kellogg and the step-down unit on 8 north. We hold this information group every Wednesday at 3 p.m. in the  large family waiting room on 8 Kellogg.

I am 29 years post-brain surgery and am very proud of this group and the information we give to families every week.

Related story:

My Life After the Injury

2 thoughts on “Group Supports Families of Brain Injury Patients

  1. My name is Tanja and live in the western suburbs. I’m looking for a support group for people who have had brain injury. I had Encephalitis in 2009 and continue to heal. It would be nice to talk to people who know what I’m talking about : ) Do you think I would benefit from the monthly meetings?


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