Returning to “status quo”? Multiple perspectives on community reintegration and people with brain injuries
Nelson, Michelle L.A.
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Brain injuries (BI) are the leading cause of death and disability among people under the age of 45 (Ontario Brain Injury Association, 2004). With improved survival rates, more individuals each year return to the community with impairments and disabilities caused by their injury (Smith, Magill–Evans, and Brintnell, 1998). Adjusting to these impairments may affect the individual’s subjective well being; therefore, attention to community reintegration by researchers, policy developers, and health care providers is important. Using qualitative research methods and systems theory as the theoretical framework, the purpose of the study was to examine community reintegration from the perspectives of three key groups: individuals with BI, community based agencies, and primary care physicians regarding the meaning attributed to “successful reintegration”, as well as the key characteristics and barriers experienced during reintegration. “Successful” reintegration appears to be an individually derived concept. Participants consistently identified the need for information about the process of community reintegration, and resources available both during rehabilitation and after discharge from the hospital as being both a key aspect of community reintegration, as well as a barrier experienced during the return to community.