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To synthesise the current best evidence on both pharmacological and non-pharmacological behaviour management interventions for adult patients in the acute hospital setting with traumatic brain injury (TBI) or post-traumatic amnesia (PTA).
A comprehensive search of 10 electronic databases was completed.
Systematic reviews (SRs) published in English before September 2018 were included. Initial search resulted in 4604 citations, 2916 for title and abstract screening with duplicates removed, and 2909 articles failed to meet the inclusion criteria leaving seven reviews for inclusion. Five reporting pharmacological management approaches, two reporting non-pharmacological management approaches, and one reporting both pharmacological and non-pharmacological management approaches.
Methodological quality was assessed independently by two reviewers using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Tool for SRs. Data were extracted from the studies based on the recommendations of the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) Methodology for JBI Umbrella Reviews.
The SRs were of low-to-moderate quality overall. High-quality SRs were characterised by low numbers of studies and significant biases. The evidence relating to pharmacological interventions demonstrates low level and variable quality. The evidence relating to non-pharmacological interventions was limited and of low quality.
The current evidence for the management of challenging behaviours in patients with acute TBI/PTA is generally equivocal, potentially reflecting the heterogeneity of patients with TBI and their clinical behaviours. More studies with rigorous methodologies are required to investigate the most suitable pharmacological and non-pharmacological behavioural interventions for the acute phase of TBI or PTA.
Emerging data suggest that recovery from mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) takes longer than previously thought. This paper examines trajectories for cognitive recovery up to 48 months post-mTBI, presenting these visually using a Sankey diagram and growth curve analysis.
This sample (n = 301) represents adults (≥16 years) from a population-based Brain Injury Outcomes in the New Zealand Community study over a 4-year follow-up on the CNS-Vital Signs neuropsychological test. Data were collected within 2 weeks of injury, and then at 1, 6, 12 and 48 months post-injury.
Significant improvement in cognitive functioning was seen up to 6 months post-injury. Using growth curve modelling, we found significant improvements in overall neurocognition from baseline to 6 months, on average participants improved one point per month (0.9; 95% CI 0.42–1.39) p < 0.001. No change in neurocognition was found within the time periods 6–12 months or 12–48 months. The Sankey highlighted that at each time point, a small proportion of participants remained unchanged or declined. Proportionally, few show any improvement after the first 6 months.
Most individuals remained stable or improved over time to 6 months post-injury. Summary statistics are informative regarding overall trends, but can mask differing trajectories for recovery. The Sankey diagram indicates that not all improve, as well as the potential impact of individuals moving in and out of the study. The Sankey diagram also indicated the level of functioning of those most likely to withdraw, allowing targeting of retention strategies.
Individuals with acquired brain injury (ABI) may present with challenging behaviours (CB) that place themselves and others at risk of harm and impact their community integration. It is crucial for community ABI therapists to successfully train in and implement behaviour interventions. The current study aimed to investigate community ABI therapists’ experiences of using, training in and implementing behaviour interventions. An additional aim was to determine these therapists’ understanding of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS), one approach to addressing CB with a focus on improving quality of life.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 Australian community ABI therapists about their experiences of using, training in and implementing behaviour interventions and understanding of PBS. Inductive thematic analysis and content analysis were performed on interview transcripts.
The thematic analysis resulted in the generation of six themes which described the difficulties participants faced in training in and delivering behaviour interventions and identified their training and implementation needs. The content analysis resulted in 10 categories that characterised participants’ understanding of PBS, which centred around the absence of consequences, a focus on antecedents, person-centred practice and encouraging prosocial alternatives to CB.
The findings highlight a need and desire for more practical and interactive clinician training in behaviour interventions for individuals with ABI. Moreover, the findings suggest a limited understanding of PBS amongst community ABI therapists. Important considerations for the development of clinician training in ABI behaviour interventions and subsequent implementation into community practice are discussed.
People with acquired brain injury (ABI) have traditionally experienced low employment rates, compared with the national average and others with disability in Australia. To positively impact mainstream economic participation following ABI, a co-design approach was used to investigate open employment pathways available and consider necessary pathway features to enable employment for people with ABI.
A qualitative focus group methodology was used with four groups: people with ABI; health professionals working with this group; employers providing work for people with ABI and social and injury insurers funding employment services. The project was delivered in two phases: (1) review existing work pathways in Australia and gather knowledge about enablers and barriers to employment following ABI and (2) use ABI lived experience, employers’ experience and allied health and social insurer expertise to develop a new pathway to mainstream employment.
Co-design helped to identify enablers and barriers to employment of people with ABI, as well as practical strategies to facilitate workplace diversity and inclusion. Enablers included replacing interviews with an onsite assessment to meet key staff and trial work tasks, employer education on ABI, the use of compensatory cognitive aides and graded on-the-job support. This guided the development of a new employment pathway, tailored for people with ABI, called ‘Employment CoLab’.
The Employment CoLab pathway, when coupled with person-centred collaborative and effective social disability insurance approaches, offers opportunities to build inclusive, sustainable and scalable economic participation and mainstream wages for people with ABI.
Patients with severe stroke frequently present with substantial impairments but are often not prioritised for post-discharge rehabilitation. There is a need to determine where these patients are discharged to in order to facilitate appropriate allocation of post-discharge pathway resources.
The present study aimed to describe the discharge pathways of patients with severe stroke and to identify predictors of discharge destination for these patients.
A descriptive, retrospective design was utilised to determine the discharge destination for 770 patients with severe stroke in Queensland, Australia. Binomial logistic regression was used to determine the variables that predicted discharge destination.
The results indicated that 58.44% of patients were discharged home (n = 450). Age, length of stay, discharge ward and geographical region emerged as significant predictors of discharge destination. The full model containing all predictors was statistically significant and, as a whole, explained 36.50% of the variance in discharge destination.
These results highlight the importance of these variables in influencing the outcomes of patients with severe stroke, which may assist post-hospital discharge services in allocating resources for patients with severe stroke.
The aim of this qualitative study was to understand processes involved in the maintenance and development of friendships after a person sustains a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Four people with severe TBI from rural settings in Australia identified one-to-two friends to be interviewed. A total of nine friends participated in a semi-structured interview. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and data was analyzed using principles of grounded theory.
The overall conceptualisation that emerged from the data described the process of friends actively placing themselves within the friendship with the person with TBI. Two major processes were evident which enabled friends to actively place themselves within the friendship. They were (1) making sense of the TBI and its consequences and (2) maintaining normality in the friendship.
Friendships can be maintained following a TBI when friends actively place themselves within the friendships. Friends are able to do this when they make sense of the TBI and its consequences and maintain normality. There are a variety of ways that friends achieve this.
The intention of this paper is to develop the personal concept of appropriate access. We report on the service access experiences and opportunities of adults with an acquired brain injury after leaving inpatient rehabilitation. The benefits of appropriate access underpin standards in early and long-term recovery, though users’ access needs are highly personal.
The study used a qualitative design involving 16 semi-structured interviews with Australian adults with an acquired brain injury after discharge from inpatient brain rehabilitation. Data were thematically analysed.
Three main themes were derived from the analysis. Theme 1 shows that participants valued being steered to services that providers thought appropriate for them early after discharge from inpatient rehabilitation. Theme 2 highlights the tensions between timing and personal recovery and perceived needs. Theme 3 captures participants’ insights into the challenges of gaining access vis-a-vis what the system offers and the enablers of actualising appropriate access.
The positive experiences of being directed to specialist services early after discharge suggest that continuity of care constitutes appropriateness of access for participants in this study. However, it is also clear that continuity should not displace flexibility in the timing of services, to accord with individuals’ perceived needs. This, in addition to enablement of access opportunities, through funding and transport, are important in maintaining a personalised approach.
Traumatic brain injury is recognised as a significant and pervasive health issue among offender populations. Despite this, no qualitative research exists exploring the experiences and perceptions of offenders with TBI in prison.
Qualitative interviews were conducted with male and female offenders housed in a UK prison. Interviews examined what participants felt led them to offend, experiences of incarceration, and post-release plans. Presence of TBI was assessed via the Brain Injury Screening Index. Data were analysed by means of inductive content analysis.
Both male and female prisoners primarily attributed their incarceration to drugs and alcohol use, with males also referencing more issues with aggression, while mental illness and past abuse were more commonly mentioned among females. A lack of recognition for the possible role of TBI was noted, with several males describing themselves as ‘stupid’ or prone to making ‘poor lifestyle choices’. Both groups indicated a desire to return to education or work post-release.
Despite significant rates of injury, there is a clear lack of understanding and consideration of the role of TBI in the behaviour and presentation of offenders. There is need for improved identification and education around TBI early in the criminal justice process.