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  • Tyerman Siblings of child with brain injury for Pure

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Siblings' experiences of their relationship with a brother or sister with a paediatric acquired brain injury

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/07/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Disability and Rehabilitation
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date10/07/18
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Primary purpose: Child acquired brain injury has significant impact on the family, including siblings. This study aimed to explore siblings’ experiences of their relationship with their brother or sister with acquired brain injury in order to make recommendations for health professionals working with this population.

Research design: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five siblings of children with acquired brain injury aged between 9 and 12 years and analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results: The analysis resulted in four themes: (i) Coping with “a nightmare that you live”; (ii) Disconnection from family relationships; (iii) My sibling is different but “still the same underneath all this thing”; and (iv) Changing togetherness.

Conclusions: The siblings in this study experienced a high level of distress with the near loss of their brother or sister. This was followed by difficulty in adjusting to the physical and psychological changes in their injured sibling and the impact on their sibling role and relationship. The changes were experienced alongside disruption to family relationships. Important clinical implications include the inclusion of siblings in their injured sibling’s care and the provision of information and support for this group.

Implications for Rehabilitation
Siblings of children with an acquired brain injury experience significant challenges while trying to adapt to their changing sibling relationship and feelings of disconnection with their family.

This study highlights a need to work systemically with families of childhood brain injury and recognize siblings’ important role in their family unit and therefore involve them in their brother/sister’s care and rehabilitation.

This study also highlights a need to support siblings to cope with the trauma and provide information to validate and understand their experience.