The Brain Crew: An evolving support programme for children who have parents or siblings with an acquired brain injury
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Family members, particularly young children, may experience multiple negative consequences when a parent or sibling sustains a brain injury. Family and child distress may compromise the quality and sustainability of rehabilitation gains. Further, enduring favourable outcomes are likely to ensue when families are incorporated into and assisted with appropriate rehabiliation services. This article describes the ongoing development, implementation and evaluation of a support program to assist children whose parents or siblings have a brain injury. The aim of the "Brain Crew" programme was to maximize short and long term family adjustment, increase children's understanding of brain injury, expand children's coping strategies and peer networks and reduce children's anxiety, social isolation and emotional and behavioural difficulties. Two-hour weekly sessions over six weeks were run concurrently with an existing family support programme. Initially evaluated by child and parent interviews and focus groups conducted 3 months post intervention, children and parents reported positive and substantial gains from the intervention including increasing understanding of ABI, reduced emotional distress and improved coping strategies for children. Since inception, Brain Crew has been conducted 8 times, and 44 children have completed the programme. Brain Crew has now become a continuous quality improvement (CQI) initiative, both dynamic and reactive to consumer need and feedback, with ongoing process and outcome evaluation through completion of surveys by both children and parents.
Journal of Cognitive Rehabilitation
Health and Community Services