Barriers and enablers to managing challenging behaviours after traumatic brain injury in the acute hospital setting: a qualitative study

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Abstract

Background: Challenging behaviours after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the acute setting are associated with risk of harm to the patient and staff, delays in commencing rehabilitation and increased length of hospital stay. Few guidelines exist to inform practice in acute settings, and specialist services providing multi-disciplinary expertise for TBI behaviour management are predominantly based in subacute inpatient services. This study aims to investigate acute and subacute staff perspectives of barriers and enablers to effectively managing challenging behaviours after TBI in acute hospital settings. Methods: Qualitative focus groups were conducted with 28 staff (17 from acute setting, 11 from subacute setting) across two sites who had experience working with patients with TBI. Data were analysed using inductive-deductive reflexive thematic analysis. Data were applied to the constructs of the integrated-Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (i-PARIHS) framework to generate themes representing barriers and enablers to managing challenging behaviours after TBI in the acute hospital setting. Results: Four barriers and three enablers were identified. Barriers include (1) Difficulties with clinical decision making; (2) Concerns for risks to staff and patients; (3) Hospital environment; (4) Intensive resources are required. Enablers were (1) Experienced staff with practical skills; (2) Incorporating person-centred care; and (3) Supportive teams. Conclusion: These findings can inform pre-implementation planning for future improvements to TBI behaviour management in acute hospital settings. Difficulties with clinical decision making, concerns for risks of injury, the hospital environment and lack of resources are major challenges. Implementation strategies developed to address barriers will need to be trialled, with multi-disciplinary team approaches, and tailored to the acute setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1266
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Acute care
  • Challenging behaviour
  • Implementation
  • Qualitative research
  • Staff
  • Traumatic brain injury

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