Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

‘I’ve got to row the boat on my own, more or less’: aboriginal australian experiences of traumatic brain injury

  • Elizabeth Armstrong (a1), Juli Coffin (a2), Meaghan McAllister (a1), Deborah Hersh (a1), Judith M. Katzenellenbogen (a3) (a4), Sandra C. Thompson (a5), Natalie Ciccone (a1), Leon Flicker (a6), Natasha Cross (a1), Linda Arabi (a1), Deborah Woods (a7) and Colleen Hayward (a8)...

Abstract

Background:

The overarching cultural context of the brain injury survivor, particularly that related to minority peoples with a history of colonisation and discrimination, has rarely been referred to in the research literature, despite profoundly influencing a person’s recovery journey in significant ways, including access to services. This study highlights issues faced by Australian Aboriginal traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors in terms of real-life consequences of the high incidence of TBI in this population, current treatment and long-term challenges.

Method:

A case study approach utilised qualitative interview and file review data related to five male Aboriginal TBI survivors diagnosed with acquired communication disorders. The five TBI survivors were from diverse areas of rural and remote Western Australia, aged between 19 and 48 years at the time of injury, with a range of severity.

Case Reports:

Common themes included: significant long-term life changes; short-term and long-term dislocation from family and country as medical intervention and rehabilitation were undertaken away from the person’s rural/remote home; family adjustments to the TBI including permanent re-location to a metropolitan area to be with their family member in residential care; challenges related to lack of formal rehabilitation services in rural areas; poor communication channels; poor cultural security of services; and lack of consistent follow-up.

Discussion and Conclusion:

These case reports represent some of the first documented stories of Aboriginal Australian TBI survivors. They supplement available epidemiological data and highlight different contexts for Aboriginal people after TBI, contributing to an overall profile that is relevant for rehabilitation service planning.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author. Email: b.armstrong@ecu.edu.au

References

Hide All
Alway, Y., Gould, K. R., Johnston, L., McKenzie, D., & Ponsford, J. (2016). A prospective examination of Axis I psychiatric disorders in the first 5 years following moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. Psychological Medicine, 46(6), 13311341. doi: 10.1017/S0033291715002986.
Armstrong, E., Hersh, D., Hayward, C., & Fraser, J. (2015). Communication disorders after stroke in Aboriginal Australians. Disability and Rehabilitation, 37(16), 14621469. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2014.972581.
Armstrong, E., Hersh, D., Katzenellenbogen, J. M., Coffin, J., Thompson, S. C., Ciccone, N., … McAllister, M. (2015). Study protocol: Missing voices – communication difficulties after stroke and traumatic brain injury in Aboriginal Australians. Brain Impairment, 16(02), 145156. doi: 10.1017/BrImp.2015.15.
Australia Institute of Health and Welfare. (2004). Rural, regional and remote health: A guide to remoteness classifications. Canberra: AIHW, 2004 AIHW Cat No PHE 53.
Baxter, P., & Jack, S. (2008). Qualitative case study methodology: Study design and implementation for novice researchers. The Qualitative Report, 13(4), 544559. Retrieved from http://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol13/iss4/2.
Blackmer, J., & Marshall, S. C. (1999). A comparison of traumatic brain injury in the Saskatchewan native North American and non-native North American populations. Brain Injury, 13(8), 627635. doi: 10.1080/026990599121359.
Bohanna, I., Fitts, M. S., Bird, K., Fleming, J., Gilroy, J., Esterman, A., … Clough, A. R. (2018). The transition from hospital to home: Protocol for a longitudinal study of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brain Impairment, 19(3), 246257. doi: 10.1017/BrImp.2018.1.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Chase, S. E. (2005). Narrative inquiry: Multiple lenses, approaches, voices. In Lincoln, N. K. D. Y. S. (Ed.), The sage handbook of qualitative research (3rd ed., pp. 651679), Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications Inc.
Coffin, J., & Armstrong, E. (2018). The positioning of the Aboriginal brain injury survivor within a service, family/community and wider societal context. (Version 1). Figshare. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.7180823.
Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Elder, H. (2013). Indigenous theory building for Māori children and adolescents with traumatic brain injury and their extended family. Brain Impairment, 14(03), 406414. doi: 10.1017/BrImp.2013.28.
Feigin, V. L., Theadom, A., Barker-Collo, S., Starkey, N. J., McPherson, K., Kahan, M., … Ameratunga, S. (2013). Incidence of traumatic brain injury in New Zealand: A population-based study. Lancet Neurology, 12(1), 5364. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(12)70262-4.
Foster, A. M., Armstrong, J., Buckley, A., Sherry, J., Young, T., Foliaki, S., … McPherson, K. M. (2012). Encouraging family engagement in the rehabilitation process: A rehabilitation provider’s development of support strategies for family members of people with traumatic brain injury. Disability and Rehabilitation, 34(22), 18551862. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2012.670028.
Gauld, S., Smith, S., & Kendall, M. B. (2011). Using participatory action research in community-based rehabilitation for people with acquired brain injury: From service provision to partnership with Aboriginal communities. Disability and Rehabilitation, 33(19–20), 19011911.
Gauthier, S., LeBlanc, J., Seresova, A., Laberge-Poirier, A., Correa, J. A., Alturki, A. Y., … de Guise, E. (2018). Acute prediction of outcome and cognitive-communication impairments following traumatic brain injury: The influence of age, education and site of lesion. Journal of Communication Disorders, 73, 7790. doi: 10.1016/j.jcomdis.2018.04.003.
Hines, M., Brunner, M., Poon, S., Lam, M., Tran, V., Yu, D., … Power, E. (2017). Tribes and tribulations: Interdisciplinary eHealth in providing services for people with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). BMC Health Services Research, 17(1), 757. doi: 10.1186/s12913-017-2721-2.
Jamieson, L. M., Harrison, J. E., & Berry, J. G. (2008). Hospitalisation for head injury due to assault among Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, July 1999--June 2005. The Medical Journal of Australia, 188(10), 576.
Katzenellenbogen, J. M., Atkins, E., Thompson, S. C., Hersh, D., Coffin, J., Flicker, L., … Armstrong, E. M. (2018). Missing Voices: Profile, extent, and 12-month outcomes of nonfatal traumatic brain injury in Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal adults in Western Australia using linked administrative records. Journal of Head Trauma and Rehabilitation, 33(6), 412423. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000371.
Katzenellenbogen, J. M., Miller, L. J., Somerford, P., Mcevoy, S., & Bessarab, D. (2015). Strategic information for hospital service planning: A linked data study to inform an urban Aboriginal Health Liaison Officer program in Western Australia. Australian Health Review, 39, 429436.
Katzenellenbogen, J. M., Teng, T. H., Lopez, D., Hung, J., Knuiman, M. W., Sanfilippo, F. M., … Thompson, S. C. (2015). Initial hospitalisation for atrial fibrillation in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations in Western Australia. Heart, 101(9), 712719. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2014-306678.
Keightley, M., Kendall, V., Jang, S. H., Parker, C., Agnihotri, S., Colantonio, A., … Bellavance, A. (2011). From health care to home community: An Aboriginal community-based ABI transition strategy. Brain Injury, 25(2), 142152. doi: 10.3109/02699052.2010.541898.
Kelly, J., Dwyer, J., Pekarsky, B., Mackean, T., Willis, E., Battersby, M., & Glover, J. (2012). Managing two worlds together: Stage 2 - patient journey mapping tools. Retrieved from Melbourne: The Lowitja Institute.
Kelly, J., Dwyer, J., Willis, E., & Pekarsky, B. (2014). Travelling to the city for hospital care: Access factors in country Aboriginal patient journeys. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 22(3), 109113. doi: 10.1111/ajr.12094.
Lakhani, A., Townsend, C., & Bishara, J. (2017). Traumatic brain injury amongst indigenous people: A systematic review. Brain Injury, 31(13–14), 17181730. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2017.1374468.
Lewis, F. D., & Horn, G. J. (2017). Depression following traumatic brain injury: Impact on post-hospital residential rehabilitation outcomes. NeuroRehabilitation, 40(3), 401410. doi: 10.3233/NRE-161427.
Linton, K. F. (2015). Interpersonal violence and traumatic brain injuries among Native Americans and women. Brain Injury, 29(5), 639643. doi: 10.3109/02699052.2014.989406.
McDonald, S., Togher, L., & Code, C. (2014). Social and communication disorders following traumatic brain injury. London: Taylor & Francis Group
McKenna, B., Fernbacher, S., Furness, T., & Hannon, M. (2015). “Cultural brokerage” and beyond: Piloting the role of an urban Aboriginal Mental Health Liaison Officer. BMC Public Health, 15, 881. doi: 10.1186/s12889-015-2221-4.
Olver, J. H., Ponsford, J. L., & Curran, C. A. (2009). Outcome following traumatic brain injury: A comparison between 2 and 5 years after injury. Brain Injury, 10(11), 841848. doi: 10.1080/026990596123945
O’Reilly, K., Wilson, N., & Peters, K. (2018). Narrative literature review: Health, activity and participation issues for women following traumatic brain injury. Disability and Rehabilitation, 40(19), 23312342. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2017.1334838.
Ponsford, J. L., Downing, M. G., Olver, J., Ponsford, M., Acher, R., Carty, M., & Spitz, G. (2014). Longitudinal follow-up of patients with traumatic brain injury: Outcome at two, five, and ten years post-injury. Journal of Neurotrauma, 31(1), 6477. doi: 10.1089/neu.2013.2997.
Queensland Government (Writer) & A. B. I. O. Service (Director). (2017). My community, my family - three indigenous families share their knowledge of brain injury. Buranda, Queensland: Queensland Government.
Rutland-Brown, W., Wallace, L. J. D., Faul, M. D., & Langlois, J. A. (2005). Traumatic brain injury hospitalizations among American Indians/Alaska Natives. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 20(3), 205214.
Salas, C. E., Casassus, M., Rowlands, L., Pimm, S., & Flanagan, D. A. J. (2018). “Relating through sameness”: A qualitative study of friendship and social isolation in chronic traumatic brain injury. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 28(7), 11611178. doi: 10.1080/09602011.2016.1247730.
Sandelowski, M. (2000). Whatever happened to qualitative description? Research in Nursing and Health, 23, 334340.
Taylor, S. J., & Bogdan, R. (1994). Qualitative research methods and community living. In Hayden, M. F., & Avery, B. H. (Eds.), Challenges for service system in transition (pp. 4363). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company.
Togher, L., McDonald, S., Tate, R., Rietdijk, R., & Power, E. (2016). The effectiveness of social communication partner training for adults with severe chronic TBI and their families using a measure of perceived communication ability. NeuroRehabilitation, 38, 243255.
World Health Organisation. (2001). International classification of functioning, disability and health (ICF). Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organisation.

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed