Older adults’ experiences of community integration following traumatic brain injury

James Kent, Valerie Wright-St Clair, Paula Kersten

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    Literature suggests community integration should be the primary rehabilitation goal for older people following a traumatic brain injury (TBI). However, little is known about older people’s lived experience of community integration following TBI. This mixed method study explores community integration from the perspective of four older adults following mild TBI, and compares findings with results from two community integration outcome measures: the Community Integration Questionnaire (CIQ) and the Community Integration Measure (CIM). Findings showed that TBI caused major disruption in life planning, with participants discussing a battle to maintain their pre-TBI independence and having to deal with the consequences of losing some independence following their injury. Setting up or maintaining good support networks were identified as vital to reintegration into the community following TBI, including with physiotherapists whose ability to engage and listen to their patients’ experiences can play an important role in their recovery. Physiotherapists must take care when using the CIQ or CIM to measure the experiences of older adults’
    community integration following TBI as this study suggests that the measures do not wholly reflect people’s lived experiences.
    Findings from this study may be referred to by the providers of community-based services for older adults with TBI to develop strategies for supporting older adults’ community integration following TBI.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)148-153
    JournalNew Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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