Original Research

Initial experiences of family caregivers of survivors of a traumatic brain injury

Mandi Broodryk, Chrisma Pretorius
African Journal of Disability | Vol 4, No 1 | a165 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v4i1.165 | © 2015 Mandi Broodryk, Chrisma Pretorius | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 October 2014 | Published: 11 August 2015

About the author(s)

Mandi Broodryk, Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Chrisma Pretorius, Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University

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Background: There seems to be a paucity of research on the initial subjective experiences of family caregivers of survivors of a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Objective: To explore the challenges that family caregivers face during the initial stages of recovery of a relative who has sustained a TBI.

Methods: Thematic analysis was used to explore the findings from semi-structured interviews that were conducted with 12 female family caregivers of relatives who had sustained a TBI.

Results: Family caregivers recalled their initial experiences of the shock at hearing the news about their relative’s TBI, negative experiences in hospital and frustrating interactions with healthcare professionals as particularly challenging. Conclusion: The findings of this study emphasise caregivers’ need for support, information and psycho-education, especially from healthcare professionals, from the very beginning stages of recovery from a TBI. Practical and physical needs with regard to admission to and care in the hospital were also highlighted. This research will hopefully contribute to creating awareness amongst healthcare professionals on how they can contribute to improvement of the services provided by the healthcare system based on the experiences of the caregivers who participated in this study.


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