Patients' views on outcome following head injury: a qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • PG Morris
  • L Prior
  • G Lewis
  • W Mayle
  • C Burrow
  • E Bryant

Colleges, School and Institutes


BACKGROUND: Head injuries are a common occurrence, with continuing care in the years following injury being provided by primary care teams and a variety of speciality services. The literature on outcome currently reflects areas considered important by health-care professionals, though these may differ in some respects from the views of head injured individuals themselves. Our study aimed to identify aspects of outcome considered important by survivors of traumatic head injury. METHODS: Thirty-two individuals were interviewed, each of whom had suffered head injury between one and ten years previously from which they still had residual difficulties. Purposive sampling was used in order to ensure that views were represented from individuals of differing age, gender and level of disability. These interviews were fully transcribed and analysed qualitatively by a psychologist, a sociologist and a psychiatrist with regular meetings to discuss the coding. RESULTS: Aspects of outcome mentioned by head injury survivors which have received less attention previously included: specific difficulties with group conversations; changes in physical appearance due to scarring or weight change; a sense of loss for the life and sense of self that they had before the injury; and negative reactions of others, often due to lack of understanding of the consequences of injury amongst both family and general public. CONCLUSION: Some aspects of outcome viewed as important by survivors of head injury may be overlooked by health professionals. Consideration of these areas of outcome and the development of suitable interventions should help to improve functional outcome for patients.


Original languageEnglish
Article number30
JournalBMC Family Practice
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2005