Integration of Family Dynamics into the Rehabilitation of the Brain-Injured Patient


Department of Nursing, Braintree Hospital, 250 Pond Street, Braintree, MA 02184.


The cooperation and participation of the family is crucial to the rehabilitation of the head-injured patient. Unfortunately, the families themselves are often in varying degrees of disability and disarray. A highly structured and standardized program can be applied to successfully integrate family needs and priorities into the rehabilitation of the patient. One such program, described in this article, emphasizes ongoing and mandatory family education, shared decision-making, and flexibility on the part of both family and staff, thus allowing the development of a viable discharge plan. Interventions arising from this program are designed to recognize family needs and to anticipate problems before they arise. Fewer staff/family conflicts minimize time spent on conflict resolution. A better adjusted, better educated family facilitates an enhanced outcome for the patient.