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Keywords:

  • caregivers;
  • information;
  • literature review;
  • polytrauma;
  • veterans

Family caregivers of U.S. servicemembers with polytraumatic injuries (injuries to multiple body systems) need support and information to care for their family members. Providing information to patients' families may reduce stress and increase coping abilities. Because the field of polytrauma research is new and evidence is lacking, providers rely on traumatic brain injury (TBI) research to guide their practice. This article presents a narrative literature review on the information needs of families of patients with TBI. It summarizes the types of needed information, the most appropriate time to provide information, and the best approaches for providing information. Future research on information needs is critical if polytrauma rehabilitation providers are to effectively support families in their caregiving roles. Such research likely will benefit caregivers of patients with polytrauma who acquire their injuries as civilians, as well. Research gaps are identified with regard to the information needs of families of patients with TBI; these gaps also are applicable to polytrauma caregivers. Additional research areas are highlighted in light of the new polytrauma population.