Relationship continuity and person-centred care: an exploratory mixed-methods investigation of spousal partners' responses to the challenging care needs of those with acquired brain injury

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Some partners of people with an acquired brain injury experience the person with the injury and their relationship as continuous with the pre-injury person and relationship, but others experience the person and relationship as very different to what went before. Previous qualitative research has suggested that the experience of continuity may promote a more person-centred approach to how partners respond to challenging care needs. Given the value of triangulating evidence, this exploratory study used a mixed-methods design to investigate this suggestion. Twenty-six partners of people with an acquired brain injury completed the Birmingham Relationship Continuity Measure and a semi-structured interview about their response to challenging care needs. Interviews were coded and scored to provide a measure of the extent to which the participants' understanding, management and emotional responses showed a person-centred approach. The findings supported the hypothesis. Greater continuity was significantly correlated with a more person-centred approach. Associating relationship continuity and person-centred care is a novel approach to the issue of how family relationships may impact on care quality. Person-centred care can have important benefits for both the giver and receiver of care. Whether it can be promoted through fostering a sense of continuity in the relationship merits further investigation.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1169–1189
Number of pages21
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
Issue number6
Early online date15 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • brain injury, family care, relationship continuity, person-centred care, challenging behaviour