Community in the pandemic: experiences and strategies by people with acquired brain injury and their families during COVID-19.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Disabil Rehabil, 2023, 45, (6), pp. 1038-1045
Issue Date:
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PURPOSE: This study explored the experiences of people with acquired brain injury and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on how they maintained their communities and sense of belonging, the strategies they found helpful, and advice they have for improving service provision and community connectedness. METHODS: Semi structured interviews with pictorial mapping were conducted with ten adults with ABI and six of their family members. Participants responded to recruitment information circulated by a state-wide ABI peer support network in South Australia. RESULTS: Four primary themes were identified from the findings: (1) disruptions to routine; (2) social isolation; (3) using technology; and (4) strategies for staying safe and keeping well. Results are discussed using a social and urban geography lens and a conceptual framework of belonging to explore the experiences of people with ABI and their communities. CONCLUSIONS: The study reinforces the role of robust peer/support networks to stay connected, stay well and support others. Government, health services and community groups must provide clear and accessible information and supports, and regularly reach out to ensure the safety and wellbeing of people with ABI and their families during the pandemic.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONPeople with acquired brain injury and their families experienced increased challenges to maintaining contact with their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.The main challenges were disruptions to routine, social isolation, and use of technology for health, therapy and social contact.Strategies to support people with ABI to maintain connections, stay engaged, and access technology and information to stay safe and well during lock-down are presented.
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