Aims To examine how family support is provided by the nursing team following acquired brain injury (ABI) in a neurorehabilitation setting within the context of the multidisciplinary team.
Methods One specialist paediatric rehabilitation centre n = 23
7 week period
Children and young people aged 2 to 18 years
Acquired brain injury
Retrospective data analysis using the Northwick Park Therapy Dependency Assessment (NPTDA) and the Northwick Park Nursing Dependency Scale (NPDS).
The NPTDA provides an assessment of a patient’s therapy dependency, including family support, and is designed for use in neurorehabilitation settings where rehabilitation is provided by a multi-disciplinary team.
The NPDS provides a measure of care including patient/family psychological support provided by the nursing team. Examined family support processes and relevant training opportunities.
Results Time spent supporting families
The nursing team provide an average of 5.1 h (range 0.1–22.5) family support per week to families of children with ABI.
The total time other team members combined (including psychologists and social workers) spent in family support was an average of 2.2 h per week.
Processes/systems in place
The nursing team work collaboratively with psychology and social work team to ensure a team approach in providing family support
The psychology and nursing teams prepare a case study prior to each child’s admission to ensure the nursing team have a good insight and understanding into the child’s brain injury and family dynamics.
The nursing team need to have a good knowledge and understanding of ABI to effectively support parents and receive training to support this.
The nursing team receive training in communication, managing grief and loss and the importance of giving information whilst maintaining realistic hope.
Conclusions The nursing team have a higher number of direct contact hours with families in neurorehabilitation compared to other members of the multidisciplinary team.
Nurses need training to be able to give the level of family support and information that is required.
Nurses in the acute setting can begin to support families and prepare them for the rehabilitation journey.
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