Mixed methods study to understand the experiences of adults with acquired brain injury and their family members who receive specialised rehabilitation

Elizabeth O'Shannessy, Sandra Reeder, Swarna Vishwanath, Sophie Hill, Andrew Perta, Laura Jolliffe, Jacqui Morarty, Peter Hunter, Natasha A. Lannin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background and Aim: Rehabilitation therapy is a key part of the recovery pathway for people with severe acquired brain injury (ABI). The aim of this study was to explore inpatients' and their family members' experiences of a specialist ABI rehabilitation service. Methods: A cross sectional, prospective mixed method study was undertaken at a metropolitan specialist ABI rehabilitation unit in Victoria, Australia. All inpatients and their family members of the service were invited to complete a satisfaction survey. Employing purposive sampling, semi-structured interviews were conducted with inpatients and/or their family members. Results: In total, 111 people completed the satisfaction survey and 13 were interviewed. High levels of satisfaction with the specialist service were reported; the majority of inpatients (74%) and family members (81%) rated the overall quality of care received in the service as 'high' or 'very high'. Interviews revealed four main themes: (i) satisfaction with rehabilitation services, (ii) inconsistent communication, (iii) variable nursing care, and (iv) strengths and weakness of the rehabilitation environment. Overall, important components of a positive experience were being involved in decision making and discharge planning, effective communication and information processes, and being able to form therapeutic relationships with staff. Key sources of dissatisfaction for inpatients and family members related to inconsistency in care, accessing information about treatments in a format easily understood, and communication. Conclusion: Specialised rehabilitation is valued by inpatients and their family members alike. The findings highlight the importance of exploring inpatient experiences to optimise service delivery in a tailored, specialised rehabilitation programme.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalBrain Impairment
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • consumer
  • interview
  • quality
  • Rehabilitation
  • satisfaction
  • survey

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