BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injury significantly impacts survivors and their families. Rehabilitation following traumatic brain injury is often complex due to the physical, psychological, and socio-economic problems survivors face. Life goals are considered a motivational factor in rehabilitation.
OBJECTIVE: The aim was to explore expectations, problems, and strategies for goal setting in survivors of traumatic brain injury and their family caregivers for one-year during rehabilitation.
METHODS: A longitudinal qualitative study using dyadic interviews with survivors and family caregivers was carried out at three time points during the first year following traumatic brain injury. Data was analyzed according to Braun and Clarke's thematic analysis.
RESULTS: Eight survivors of traumatic brain injury and their family caregivers completed 24 interviews. Three themes and one sub-theme were identified: 1) life goals as a driving force (subtheme: dyadic discrepancies and conflicts); 2) conflicts between specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timed (SMART) goals and life goals; and 3) changing perceptions of the impact of impairments.
UNLABELLED: Life goals are important motivation in the rehabilitation process. Health care professionals must integrate life goals and rehabilitation goals (i.e. SMART goals) to decrease barriers and survivor ambivalence about rehabilitation. Involving both survivors and family caregivers in goal setting increases rehabilitation success.