PURPOSE: To explore families' experiences of participating in a family intervention, targeting families living with the consequences of acquired brain injury (ABI) or spinal cord injury (SCI).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Individuals with ABI or SCI and their family members were recruited from a randomised controlled trial investigating the effectiveness of the manual-based family intervention, which consisted of eight weekly sessions. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 families (n = 33). The data were analyzed through reflexive thematic analysis.
RESULTS: One central theme was developed "A sense of belonging together again", describing the value of the reciprocal format of the family intervention, where individuals with ABI or SCI and their family members gained new insights into each other while building up their relationship. The central theme was supported by three additional themes: "Strengthened communication and emotional control", "Acknowledging the changed life situation" and "Being seen as a whole person".
CONCLUSIONS: The family intervention supported the families to strengthen family cohesion and to be capable to manage the changed life situation. The findings emphasize the importance of a family-centered approach in neurorehabilitation, and how healthcare professionals play a significant role in facilitating families to achieve a balanced level of family cohesion.