The primary goal of this study was to develop a preliminary tool to determine caregivers’ needs regarding the management of a person with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), during the acute rehabilitation period. The potential impact of TBI on family dynamics, interpersonal relationships and functional independence is well documented.To facilitate achievement of the main goal this study was divided into two phases. In the first phase, caregivers’ needs were determined by means of both qualitative and quantitative measurements in the form of structured and unstructured observations, the implementation of a “Needs Questionnaire”, a focus group and semi-structured interviews. The results obtained during this phase indicated that caregivers have needs for support from professionals and the community, as well as needs regarding the general management of the person with a TBI and the management of the potential communication difficulties associated with TBI. Based on these needs, a preliminary tool, namely the “Needs questionnaire for caregivers of a person with a traumatic brain injury”, was developed. During the second phase of the study, this tool was administered to caregivers of individuals with TBI before and after the presentation of a workshop to determine whether there is a change in caregivers’ needs once they have received information. A pretest-posttest, experimental design was thus implemented during the second phase of this study. Although further research is required for the qualitative and quantitative validation of this tool, the use of this tool has implications for providing a better understanding of caregivers’ needs during the acute rehabilitation period after TBI. The results of this study further emphasize that improved service delivery in the South African context is reliant on the early identification, by the professional team, of the needs that caregivers of individuals with TBI have.
Dissertation (M (Communication Pathology))--University of Pretoria, 2007.