Factors facilitating recovery following severe traumatic brain injury: A qualitative study

Marina Downing, Amelia Hicks, Sandra Braaf, Dan Myles, Belinda Gabbe, Peter Cameron, Shanthi Ameratunga, Jennie Ponsford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Given the significant impact of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), understanding factors influencing recovery is critical to inform prognostication and treatment planning. Previous research has focussed primarily on factors negatively associated with outcome, with less focus on factors facilitating the recovery process. The current qualitative study examined positive factors identified for recovery by individuals who had sustained severe TBI three years earlier. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine participants with TBI and 16 close-others. Participants were asked to identify factors about themselves (or the injured individual), those around them, and the care they received that they felt were positive for recovery. Using reflexive thematic analysis, three themes were identified as positive for recovery after a TBI. Having a support network included social supports such as family and friends, and receiving other funded/non-funded assistance towards improving independence and participation. Being positive and engaged included being able to participate, being positive, using compensatory strategies, and becoming fit, healthy and happy. Getting good care included patients perceiving they had a comprehensive and good quality hospital experience, and access to multidisciplinary outpatient services. A focus on enhancing these positive environmental, personal and service factors in service provision may enhance outcomes following severe TBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-913
Number of pages25
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Outcome
  • Positive factors
  • Qualitative
  • Recovery
  • Traumatic brain injury

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