Finding a new balance in life: a qualitative study on perceived long-term needs of people with acquired brain injury and partners

Annemarie P. M. Stiekema, Ieke Winkens, Rudolf Ponds, Marjolein E. de Vugt, Caroline M. van Heugten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Although the long-term consequences of acquired brain injury are frequent and diverse, care and support over the longer term is an under-addressed issue. This study aims to identify the perceived needs of people with acquired brain injury and their partners. Methods: Interviews with four focus groups of people with brain injury (n = 17) and three partner groups (n = 19) were audio- and videotaped, transcribed verbatim and analyzed using inductive content analysis. Results: Needs were perceived on the intrapersonal, social, healthcare and societal levels, focusing on three themes: 1) Adaptation to changes, including awareness of consequences, acceptance, role changes and dealing with these; 2) Understanding from relatives/friends, professionals, institutions and society; 3) Timely, individualized care, involving information, transition to home, searching for support, peer support and support for partner/family. Discussion: The variety and complexity of needs show that people with brain injury and their partners need to find a new balance in order to live a fulfilling life despite the consequences of brain injury. The overarching need for continuity of care from the transition to home onwards provides important implications for supporting the process of learning how to live well with brain injury.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-429
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes

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