Background and aims: The ‘transition’ phase from hospital to home following brain injury is well established as a critical period of adjustment for individuals and their families. There is, however, a lack of knowledge about the experience of transition following nontraumatic brain injury (e.g., stroke, aneurysm) for individuals of working age. The purpose of this study was to explore the transition experiences of individuals with nontraumatic brain injury using mixed methods approach.
Methods: Six individuals with nontraumatic brain injury were recruited from a larger study using maximum variation sampling criteria. Individuals participated in semistructured interviews at 6-months postdischarge and completed quantitative measures of psychosocial outcomes predischarge and at 6-months postdischarge. Results: Qualitative content analysis of interviews identified three themes: (1) changes in role performance, (2) support and services and (3) coping with life after brain injury. The transition experience was characterised by loss of valued roles including driving and work, identified as major barriers to regaining independence postdischarge. Informal support provided by family and friends were relied on, while formal supports were accessed infrequently. Life post-injury presented a number of challenges including adjusting to changes in physical and cognitive abilities and a fear of reinjury. Qualitative data were supported by an overall trend of improved functioning on the quantitative measures over the 6 months.
Conclusions: Key life circumstances of working age adults with nontraumatic brain injury influence the transition experience. Clinically, the findings support the need for individualised, structured transition services pre- and postdischarge for this group.