Aims: To identify and compare, family support needs following an acquired brain injury (ABI) in metropolitan and regional/remote areas in order to inform the development of a state-wide family peer support network.
Design: Mixed methods design including postal survey and focus groups.
Results: The survey was completed by 194 family members who provide support to an adult with ABI. Focus groups included 43 participants (29 family members, 14 people with ABI). Thematic analysis of open-ended survey responses and focus group transcripts revealed 15 areas of needed support. Although all themes were identified by both geographic groups, regional/remote participants commented more frequently on the need for coordinated, accessible and tailored services. A strong focus was placed on the need for counselling and emotional support, as well as family support groups from both major city and regional/remote participants. Each support was reviewed to identify those which could be augmented through peer-supports, including: emotional support; family support groups; ABI information; family social activities; help to navigate the system; early supports (within the first year of ABI); and self-advocacy training.
Conclusions: Results highlight a need for ongoing supports for the entire family following ABI in both metropolitan and regional/remote regions of SA (South Australia). Support themes can inform the development of family-centred services, including the role of peer-support networks.