University study to support families after Traumatic Brain Injury 

Published by  Communications

On 1st Dec 2022

image of the brain

UEA is one of four universities to receive £140,000 funding from The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), the research partner of the NHS, to conduct a study to determine whether storytelling (specifically, the ‘Life Thread’ approach) can support the wellbeing and adjustment of family members after Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). 

Clinical Associate Professor Dr Fergus Gracey (MED) will support Dr Charlie Whiffin, Associate Professor of Nursing,  from the University of Derby. Dr Caroline Ellis-Hill (Bournemouth University), Dr Alyson Norman (University of Plymouth) will also support Dr Whiffin and, importantly, two family members of someone who has experienced TBI.  

Traumatic brain injury is a sudden injury to the brain commonly caused by falls and collisions. Those who survive tend to experience a wide range of difficulty including physical, cognitive, behavioural, and emotional changes. The impact of TBI on the survivor’s family can be significant and there is a need for more research to help families understand how their lives have changed.  

Dr Whiffin explains: “While there is growing recognition of the importance of family members in the recovery pathway for the injured person, there is not enough attention given to how brain injuries change the lives of the uninjured members. This study will consider if a story telling approach can be used to help family members make sense of their experiences and promote positive adjustment post-TBI.” 

Storytelling techniques can improve wellbeing and promote growth and have been used as a support mechanism in brain injury populations but not their families. Therefore, a key outcome of this study will be to determine perceived benefits and help the researchers design a larger study to test whether these benefits can be measured.  

Dr Whiffin said: “It was essential to the success of this project that we worked collaboratively with family members, leading academics and practitioners, and one of the reasons the application was so strong, and ultimately successful, was due to this team approach. By involving patients and the public, we could also be more confident that the proposal would benefit this group and have maximum impact.” 

Dr Gracey said: We are really excited to be able to take this important work forward and to build on the collaboration with Dr Whiffin on this topic. There is a pressing need to find ways of supporting family members of someone with an acquired brain injury and we hope this work will help us advance the development of a practical idea that supports positive adaptation to the many challenges that families are faced with when a family member has a brain injury. This opportunity will also help enrich our work on the social aspects of acquired brain injury within the Department of Clinical Psychology.” 

The study will begin in March 2023 and run for eighteen months. 

Latest News

 
Hanya Yanagihara. She is wearing a black top and necklaces.
02 Feb 2023

Global literary icon Hanya Yanagihara set to make rare UK appearance at UEA Live

Hanya Yanagihara, author of the million-copy bestseller A Little Life, will be welcomed to the UEA campus in March to discuss her latest novel success – To...

Read more >
 
The RRS Sir David Attenborough in the Arctic.
01 Feb 2023

RRS Sir David Attenborough begins polar science trials in Antarctica

Researchers from the University of East Anglia have joined the UK’s new polar ship RRS Sir David Attenborough as it begins its polar science trials in Antarctica...

Read more >
 
A forest fire in the Amazon rainforest.
27 Jan 2023

Human activity has degraded more than a third of remaining Amazon rainforest

The Amazon rainforest has been degraded by a much greater extent than scientists previously believed, according to a new study.

Read more >
 
A child learning to write the alphabet.
27 Jan 2023

Poor literacy linked to worse mental health worldwide, study shows

Read more >
Are you searching for something?
 
A child learning to write the alphabet.
27 Jan 2023

Poor literacy linked to worse mental health worldwide, study shows

Read more >
 
A Vitamin D tablet being held up to the sun.
26 Jan 2023

80-year-old medical mystery that caused baby deaths solved

Researchers at the University of East Anglia have solved an 80-year-old medical mystery that causes kidney damage in children and can be fatal in babies.

Read more >
 
A loudspeaker at a protest.
23 Jan 2023

There may be more power in the hand of the worker than previously thought

Employers who disproportionately punish striking workers may be acting unlawfully, according to new research from the University of East Anglia.

Read more >
 
Two bottles of hormones held in a gloved hand.
14 Jan 2023

HRT could ward off Alzheimer’s among at-risk women

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) could help prevent Alzheimer’s Dementia among women at risk of developing the disease – according to University of East Anglia...

Read more >
 
Photo of Heidi Crisp
01 Jan 2023

HSC apprentice shortlisted for finalist in prestigious awards

Occupational therapist apprentice, Heidi Crisp has been shortlisted as one of three finalist  for Apprentice of the Year in the Norfolk Apprenticeship Awards. 

Read more >
 
Andy Cammidge
24 Jan 2023

New research grant will investigate novel organic materials

Prof Andy Cammidge (CHE) and colleagues have been awarded £800k from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to investigate the synthesis of new...

Read more >
 
James Bevan presenting at UEA. He is wearing glasses, a black jacket and grey trousers.
24 Jan 2023

UEA praised for 'outstanding' work on climate research

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, praised UEA’s outstanding work on climate research and highlighted the need to focus on climate...

Read more >