Original Research

Experiences of acquired brain injury one-month post-discharge from acute hospitalisation

Kirsten J. Talbot, Esedra Krüger, Bhavani S. Pillay
African Journal of Disability | Vol 12 | a1037 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v12i0.1037 | © 2023 Kirsten J. Talbot, Esedra Krüger, Bhavani S. Pillay | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 March 2022 | Published: 28 February 2023

About the author(s)

Kirsten J. Talbot, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Esedra Krüger, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Bhavani S. Pillay, Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Healthcare professionals may have a preconceived idea about life after an acquired brain injury (ABI). Understanding lived experiences of individuals with ABI and their significant others, post-hospitalisation, may improve communication between healthcare professionals and individuals directly influenced by the ABI.

Objective: To describe perceived experiences of individuals with ABI, and their significant others, regarding rehabilitation services and returning to daily activities, one-month post-discharge from acute hospitalisation.

Method: Semi-structured interviews, via an online platform, expanded on the experiences of six dyads (individuals with an ABI and their significant others). Data were thematically analysed.

Results: Six main themes emerged that best described participants’ experiences; two of which were shared between individuals with ABI and their significant others (SO). Individuals with an ABI acknowledged recovery as their priority and highlighted the importance of patience. The need for counselling and additional support from healthcare professionals and peers arose. The SO expressed a need for written information, improved communication from healthcare professionals, and education regarding the implications of an ABI. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic negatively influenced all participants’ overall experiences, mainly because of termination of visiting hours. Psychosocial intervention would have been beneficial to all participants. Faith influenced most participants’ attitudes towards recovery and adapting post-ABI.

Conclusion: Most participants accepted their new reality but required additional support to cope emotionally. Individuals with an ABI would benefit from opportunities to share experiences with and learn from others in a similar situation. Streamlined services and improved communication may alleviate anxiety among families during this crucial transitional period.

Contribution: This article provides valuable information on the perspectives and experiences of individuals with ABI and their significant others during the transition from acute hospitalisation. The findings can assist with the continuity of care, integrative health and supportive strategies during the transition period post-ABI.


Keywords

acquired brain injury; experiences; acute care; post-hospitalisation; significant others; qualitative research; semi-structured interview.

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