Whose decision is it anyway? How clinicians support decision-making participation after acquired brain injury Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: To raise professional awareness of factors that may influence the support offered by clinicians to people with acquired brain injury (ABI), and to consider the potential implications of these factors in terms of post-injury rehabilitation and living. METHOD: A review of the literature was conducted to identify factors that determine how clinicians provide support and influence opportunities for individuals with ABI to participate in decision making across the rehabilitation continuum. Clinical case studies are used to highlight two specific issues: (1) hidden assumptions on the part of the practitioner, and (2) perceptions of risk operating in clinical practice. RESULTS: There are a range of factors which may influence the decision-making support provided by clinicians and, ultimately, shape lifetime outcomes for individuals with ABI. A multidimensional framework may assist clinicians to identify relevant factors and consider their potential implications including those that influence how clinicians involved in supporting decision making approach this task. CONCLUSIONS: Participation in decision making is an undisputed human right and central to the provision of person-centred care. Further research is required to understand how clinical practice can maximise both opportunities and support for increased decision-making participation by individuals with ABI. IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION: There is an increasing focus on the rights of all individuals to be supported to participate in decision making about their life. A number of changes associated with ABI mean that individuals with ABI will require support with decision making. Clinicians have a critical role in providing this support over the course of the rehabilitation continuum. Clinicians need to be aware of the range of factors that may influence the decision-making support they provide. A multidimensional framework may be used by clinicians to identify influences on the decision-making support they provide.

publication date

  • October 2013