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People with an acquired brain injury (ABI) experience substantial access inequalities and unmet health needs, with many experiencing insufficient access to appropriate rehabilitation in the community. To deepen our understanding of what appropriate access to post-acute care services is for this population, and to facilitate optimal recovery, there is a need to synthesise research from the service user perspective. A scoping review study was conducted to identify key characteristics of ‘appropriate’ access to post-acute care services, as defined by the personal experiences of adults with ABI. Electronic scientific databases Medline, PsycINFO, Proquest Central and CINAHL were searched for studies published between 2000 and 2020. The initial search identified 361 articles which, along with articles retrieved from reference list searches, resulted in 52 articles included in the final analysis. Results indicated that a majority of the studies sampled participants with an average of over 1 year post-injury, with some studies sampling participants ranging over 10 years in difference in time post-injury. A thematic synthesis was conducted and results indicated a number of dominant elements which relate to (1) the characteristics of services: provider expertise, interpersonal qualities, partnership and adaptability; (2) characteristics of the health system: navigable system, integrated care, adequacy, and opportunity. These findings provide some insight into what might be considered appropriate. However, rigorous research, focused on personalised access to post-acute care services, is recommended to verify and elaborate on these findings.
This qualitative study aimed to identify the service and support needs of people with a recent history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) living in the community.
A postal survey was sent to 662 people 6–18 months after hospital admission for a mild-to-severe TBI. The survey included an open-ended item (‘wish-basket’) for collecting ideas about important unmet needs.
Responses from 53 individuals were coded and processed using thematic analysis. Five themes (n = 39) were identified, three of which were related to personal needs. These personal wishes were about being symptom-free, independent and emotionally supported by, and connected to, loved ones. The remaining themes were about the wished-for changes to the health system and society, such as wishing for health care continuity (as opposed to being abandoned), and for greater understanding and support by society.
There is scope to improve the services and support for people living with TBI in the community. This includes reconsidering the way that discharge occurs, addressing the personal needs that remain when living in the community and promoting greater social awareness of TBI to counteract disadvantage.
Rehabilitation therapy is a key part of the recovery pathway for people with severe acquired brain injury (ABI). The aim of this study was to explore inpatients’ and their family members’ experiences of a specialist ABI rehabilitation service.
A cross sectional, prospective mixed method study was undertaken at a metropolitan specialist ABI rehabilitation unit in Victoria, Australia. All inpatients and their family members of the service were invited to complete a satisfaction survey. Employing purposive sampling, semi-structured interviews were conducted with inpatients and/or their family members.
In total, 111 people completed the satisfaction survey and 13 were interviewed. High levels of satisfaction with the specialist service were reported; the majority of inpatients (74%) and family members (81%) rated the overall quality of care received in the service as ‘high’ or ‘very high’. Interviews revealed four main themes: (i) satisfaction with rehabilitation services, (ii) inconsistent communication, (iii) variable nursing care, and (iv) strengths and weakness of the rehabilitation environment. Overall, important components of a positive experience were being involved in decision making and discharge planning, effective communication and information processes, and being able to form therapeutic relationships with staff. Key sources of dissatisfaction for inpatients and family members related to inconsistency in care, accessing information about treatments in a format easily understood, and communication.
Specialised rehabilitation is valued by inpatients and their family members alike. The findings highlight the importance of exploring inpatient experiences to optimise service delivery in a tailored, specialised rehabilitation programme.
Cognitive impairment is common in individuals presenting to alcohol and other drug (AOD) settings and the presence of biopsychosocial complexity and health inequities can complicate the experience of symptoms and access to treatment services. A challenge for neuropsychologists in these settings is to evaluate the likely individual contribution of these factors to cognition when providing an opinion regarding diagnoses such as acquired brain injury (ABI). This study therefore aimed to identify predictors of cognitive functioning in AOD clients attending for neuropsychological assessment.
Clinical data from 200 clients with AOD histories who attended for assessment between 2014 and 2018 were analysed and a series of multiple regressions were conducted to explore predictors of cognitive impairment including demographic, diagnostic, substance use, medication, and mental health variables.
Regression modelling identified age, gender, years of education, age of first use, days of abstinence, sedative load, emotional distress and diagnoses of ABI and developmental disorders as contributing to aspects of neuropsychological functioning. Significant models were obtained for verbal intellectual functioning (Adj R2 = 0.19), nonverbal intellectual functioning (Adj R2 = 0.10), information processing speed (Adj R2 = 0.20), working memory (Adj R2 = 0.05), verbal recall (Adj R2 = 0.08), visual recall (Adj R2 = 0.22), divided attention (Adj R2 = 0.14), and cognitive inhibition (Adj R2 = 0.07).
These findings highlight the importance of careful provision of diagnoses in clients with AOD histories who have high levels of unmet clinical needs. They demonstrate the interaction of premorbid and potentially modifiable comorbid factors such as emotional distress and prescription medication on cognition. Ensuring that modifiable risk factors for cognitive impairment are managed may reduce experiences of cognitive impairment and improve diagnostic clarity.
Traumatic brain injury is overrepresented in incarcerated samples and has been linked to a number of poor correctional outcomes. Despite this, no research has explored the impact of a recent TBI on compliance outcomes for individuals serving community-based.
We screened for a history of TBI in 106 adults on community sentences and collected compliance (arrests, sentence violations) and related variables (e.g., risk scores, substance use) over 6 months. Sixty-four participants also completed the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS), the Comprehensive Trail Making Test and Color-Word Inference Test.
A TBI in the last year predicted a significantly higher likelihood of arrest, even when controlling for risk of reconviction and current substance use, but was not associated with non-compliance with sentence conditions nor with performance on the neuropsychological tests. In addition, no significant associations were found between performance on neuropsychological tests and measures of non-compliance.
TBI in the last year was an independent predictor of arrest. This result suggests that those with a recent TBI on a community sentence may need additional monitoring or support to reduce the risk of reoffending.
To examine the feasibility and possible effect of an 8-week exercise program on sleep quality, insomnia and psychological distress in individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Twenty-four individuals with MS were recruited into a controlled pre-post feasibility study and divided into 2 groups: exercise (n = 13; Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS): 1.0–7.5) and a related control group with no exercise (n = 11; EDSS: 1.0–7.0). The exercise group performed combined upper limb, lower limb and breathing exercises in a controlled group (2d/week, 60 min/session) for 8 weeks. Participants were administered measures to evaluate sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, PSQI), insomnia severity (Insomnia Severity Index, ISI), psychological distress (Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation–Outcome Measure, CORE-OM) and additionally impact of fatigue (Modified Fatigue Impact Scale, MFIS) after 8-weeks.
Insomnia severity measured with ISI (F(1;22)=5.95, p = 0.023, ηp2 = 0.213, 90% CI = 0.02–0.42) and psychological distress measured with the CORE-OM (F(1;22)=4.82, p = 0.039, ηp2 = 0.179, 90% CI = 0.01–0.40) showed statistically significant group-by-time interaction. Sleep quality measured with the PSQI showed statistically significant group-by-time interaction only in an aspect of daytime sleep dysfunction (F(1;22)=5.33, p = 0.031, ηp2 = 0.195, 90% CI = 0.01–0.40). The fatigue impact measured with the MFIS showed statistically significant group-by-time interaction in physical (F(1;22)=6.80, p = 0.016, ηp2 = 0.236, 90% CI = 0.02–0.44) and cognitive aspects (F(1;22)=9.12, p = 0.006, ηp2 = 0.293, 90% CI = 0.05–0.49), and total score (F(1;22)=11.29, p = 0.003, ηp2 = 0.339, 90% CI = 0.08–0.52).
Our 8-week program reduced insomnia severity, psychological distress and some aspects of fatigue (physical; cognitive; total), and improved sleep quality in an aspect of daytime sleep dysfunction in a small group of individuals with MS. Good feasibility and significant positive changes from baseline warrant further exploratory work.
Athletes perceive sports fans as a source of concussion nondisclosure pressure. Sports fans are exposed to injury depictions from the media that could lead them to underestimate its seriousness. This study examined the concussion knowledge of non-sports fans, sports fans, and wagering sports fans, as knowledge is a modifiable factor that can influence injury disclosure.
Setting and participants:
A convenience sample of 443 Australian adults completed an online survey.
Self-rated and actual concussion knowledge (the Rosenbaum Concussion Knowledge and Attitudes Survey; RoCKAS).
There was no significant difference in the concussion knowledge of self-identified sports (n = 157) and non-sports (n = 286) fans; but sports fans rated their knowledge as significantly higher than non-sports fans (p < .05). Wagering sports fans (n = 24) had significantly less concussion knowledge than non-wagering sports fans (η2 = .03, small effect).
Athletes who feel nondisclosure pressure from sports fans may be influenced by people with incomplete concussion knowledge, particularly wagering sports fans. Sports fans over-estimated their knowledge, and this could contribute to the nondisclosure pressure felt by athletes. Programmes to increase injury disclosure by athletes should take these factors into consideration.
Early reporting of atypical symptoms following a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) may be an early indicator of poor prognosis. This study aimed to determine the percentage of people reporting atypical symptoms 1-month post-mTBI and explore links to recovery 12 months later in a community-dwelling mTBI sample.
Adult participants (>16 years) who had experienced a mTBI were identified from a longitudinal incidence study (BIONIC). At 1-month post-injury, 260 participants completed the Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (typical symptoms) plus four atypical symptom items (hemiplegia, difficulty swallowing, digestion problems and difficulties with fine motor tasks). At 12 months post-injury, 73.9% (n = 193) rated their overall recovery on a 100-point scale. An ordinal regression explored the association between atypical symptoms at 1 month and recovery at 12 months post-injury (low = 0–80, moderate = 81–99 and complete recovery = 100), whilst controlling for age, sex, rehabilitation received, ethnicity, mental and physical comorbidities and additional injuries sustained at the time of injury.
At 1-month post-injury <1% of participants reported hemiplegia, 5.4% difficulty swallowing, 10% digestion problems and 15.4% difficulties with fine motor tasks. The ordinal regression model revealed atypical symptoms were not significant predictors of self-rated recovery at 12 months. Older age at injury and higher typical symptoms at 1 month were independently associated with poorer recovery at 12 months, p < 0.01.
Atypical symptoms on initial presentation were not linked to global self-reported recovery at 12 months. Age at injury and typical symptoms are stronger early indicators of longer-term prognosis. Further research is needed to determine if atypical symptoms predict other outcomes following mTBI.
Transient ischaemic attack (TIA) can lead to lasting changes in brain structure and function resulting in cognitive impairment. Cognitive screening tools may lack sensitivity for detecting cognitive impairments, particularly executive function, which tends to be the earliest affected domain in vascular cognitive impairment.
In this preliminary study, we examine a working memory (WMem) task as a sensitive measure of cognitive impairment in TIA.
Patients referred to a TIA clinic for transient neurological symptoms completed a general cognitive screening tool (Montreal Cognitive Assessment; MoCA), and a WMem task (2-N-back) in a cross-sectional design.
TIA patients (n = 12) showed significantly reduced WMem performance on the N-back compared to patients diagnosed with mimic clinical conditions with overlapping symptoms (n = 16). No group differences were observed on the MoCA.
Assessing WMem may provide a sensitive measure of cognitive impairment after TIA, with implications for cognitive screening in TIA services to triage patients for further neuropsychological support, or for interventions to prevent vascular dementia.