This preliminary study aimed at investigating (1) changes in the status of family members between time of injury and follow-up in the chronic phase and (2) the most important needs within the family in the chronic phase and whether the needs were perceived as met.
The sample comprised 42 relatives (76% female, mean age?=?53 years) of patients with severe brain injury, who had received intensive sub-acute rehabilitation. The relatives were contacted in the chronic phase after brain injury.
A set of questions about demographics and time spent caregiving for the patient was completed. The relatives completed the revised version of the Family Needs Questionnaire, a questionnaire consisting of 37 items related to different needs following brain injury.
Significant changes in status were found in employment (z?=?-3.464, p?=?0.001) and co-habitation (z?=?-3.317, p?=?0.001). The sub-scale 'Health Information' (Mean?=?3.50, SD?=?0.73) had the highest mean importance rating, whereas the sub-scale 'Emotional support' (Mean?=?3.07, SD?=?0.79) had the lowest. When combining importance and met ratings, it was found that the five most important needs were only met in 41-50% of the total sample.
Occupational and co-habitation status of the relatives was significantly affected by brain injury. A high number of relatives reported family needs not satisfied in the chronic phase. This requires an interventional approach for families to get these needs fulfilled individually, even after rehabilitation.