Family members’ needs and experiences of driving disruption over time following an acquired brain injury: an evolving issue Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Family members often assume the role of driver for individuals who are not driving post-acquired brain injury (ABI). Given that return to driving can be unpredictable and uncertain, the impact of driving disruption on family members may vary at different stages post-injury. This study aims to understand the needs and experiences of family members over time during driving disruption following an ABI.A qualitative prospective longitudinal research design was used with semi-structured interviews at recruitment to study, 3 and 6 months later.Fourteen family members completed 41 interviews. The longitudinal data revealed four phases of driving disruption: (1) Wait and see, (2) Holding onto a quick fix, (3) No way out, and (4) Resolution and adjustment. The phases described a process of building tension and a need for support and resolution over time.Holding onto a quick fix is a pivotal phase whereby supports, such as engagement in realistic goal setting, are essential to facilitate family members' resolution of driving disruption issues. Family members who see no way out might not actively seek help and these points to a need for long-term and regular follow-ups. Future research can explore ways to support family members at these key times. Implications for rehabilitation Health professionals need to facilitate the process of fostering hope in family members to set realistic expectations of return to driving and the duration of driving disruption. It is necessary to follow-up with family members even years after ABI as the issue of driving disruption could escalate to be a crisis and family members might not actively seek help. Health professionals can consider both practical support for facilitating transport and emotional support when addressing the issue of driving disruption with family members.

publication date

  • 2017