The experience of employers of individuals with traumatic brain injury

Lauren Libeson, Pamela Ross, Marina Downing, Jennie Ponsford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To understand the experience of employers of individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who have received comprehensive vocational rehabilitation (VR), the factors involved in supporting an individual with TBI to return to work (RTW), and the support needs of employers. Methods: 12 employers completed semi-structured interviews, which were recorded, transcribed, and analysed thematically. Results: Five main themes were identified: challenges and impact on employer, managing employee post-injury changes, looking after employee wellbeing, managing conflicting emotions, and utilizing sources of support. Although employers received support with operational challenges, findings suggest they were not prepared for the emotional journey. While they struggled to support employees through the difficult process of realizing they could no longer perform at their pre-injury level, employers strove to find appropriate roles and ensure wellbeing for their injured employees. Despite employers' endeavours, they felt this process was demoralizing for some employees. Conclusions: Advising employers on operational as well as emotional support needs of both employees and employers is an ongoing challenge for VR providers. Although unsupportive employers were not well-represented in this sample, the study highlights the challenges faced and strategies used by employers who have a strong personal investment in the successful RTW of their employees.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2580-2602
Number of pages23
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2022


  • employers
  • qualitative research
  • return to work
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • vocational rehabilitation

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