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The experiences of family members of brain injured individuals in the early phase after the injury : an exploratory multiple case study Kleemann, Ulrike Hela

Abstract

Traumatic brain injury affects thousands of individuals and their families each year. The importance of the involvement of family members in rehabilitation in order to maximize the injured person's functioning has long been recognized. However, the importance of support and counselling for the family members has only become more apparent in the past 10 to 15 years. Initial research on brain injury and the family was concerned with identifying the burden on the family and factors related to their stress. Researchers also have attempted to develop questionnaires to assess families' needs. Recent research is beginning to look at the adjustment and adaptation process to brain injury by family members. Most research on the effects of brain injury on the family has been quantitative in nature and some limits exist due to small sample sizes, insufficient assessment, and lack of evidence of reliability and validity of questionnaires. Two significant gaps remain: the lack of information on family members' experiences, reactions, and needs in the initial phase after the injury (the first few weeks), and the lack of qualitative research in this area that would allow families to express and describe their own experiences. This study explores the experiences of family members of individuals with severe traumatic brain injuries during the patients' stay in acute care from their personal perspective.

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