Caregiver and Nurse Hopes for Recovery of Patients with Acquired Brain Injury


  • Mary Catherine Gebhardt PhD RN CRRN,

    Assistant Professor, Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Mary Catherine Gebhardt, PhD RN CRRN, is an assistant professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.

  • Linda A. McGehee PhD RN,

    DirectorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Linda A. McGehee, PhD RN, is director of Strengthening Surveillance and Response in Central Africa at the National Foundation for the Centers for Disease control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA.

  • Cecelia Gatson Grindel PhD RN CMSRN FAAN,

    Associate DirectorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Cecelia Gatson Grindel, PhD RN CMSRN FAAN, is associate director for academic affairs at Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.

  • Linda Testani-Dufour MSN RN CRRN

    Clinical ManagerSearch for more papers by this author
    • Linda Testani-Dufour, MSN RN CRRN, is a clinical manager of the Post Acute Brain Injury Unit at Shephard Center in Atlanta, GA.


From the moment an adolescent with acquired brain injury (ABI) is admitted to the hospital, his or her caregiver develops hopes for the recovery and future of the patient; however, rehabilitation nurses have reported that these hopes are not always congruent with the nurse's observations of the adolescent's progression. The purpose of this study was threefold: (1) explore the caregiver's hope for recovery of his or her family member who has experienced an ABI, (2) compare the nurse's hopes for the patient with ABI to those of the caregiver, and (3) identify what caregivers and nurses do to maintain hope for recovery during the rehabilitation process. This qualitative study validated that in some cases there was a disconnect between caregivers' and nurses' hopes for recovery. Four themes related to the caregiver's maintenance of hope were identified: “the importance of family,” “taking one day at a time,” “knowing the patient better,” and “spiritual strength brings me through.” Enhancing the perceptual congruence between nurse and caregiver hope during rehabilitation will ultimately improve patient outcomes.