Provider Perspectives on Early Psychosocial Interventions after Pediatric Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: An Implementation Framework

J Neurotrauma. 2021 Feb 15;38(4):513-518. doi: 10.1089/neu.2020.7323. Epub 2020 Nov 9.


This study created a framework incorporating provider perspectives of best practices for early psychosocial intervention to improve caregiver experiences and outcomes after severe pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI). A purposive sample of 23 healthcare providers from the emergency, intensive care, and acute care departments, was selected based on known clinical care of children with severe TBI at a level 1 trauma center and affiliated children's hospital. Semistructured interviews and directed content analysis were used to assess team and caregiver communication processes and topics, prognostication, and recommended interventions. Providers recommended a dual approach of institutional and individual factors contributing to an effective framework for addressing psychosocial needs. Healthcare providers recommended interventions in three domains: (1) presenting coordinated, clear messages to caregivers, (2) reducing logistical and emotional burden of care transitions, and (3) assessing and addressing caregiver needs and concerns. Specific family-centered and trauma-informed interventions included: (1) creating and sharing interdisciplinary plans with caregivers, (2) coordinating prognostication meetings and communications, (3) tracking family education, (4) improving institutional coordination and workflow, (5) training caregivers to support family involvement, (6) performing biopsychosocial assessment, and (7) using systematic prompts for difficult conversations and to address family needs at regular intervals. Healthcare workers from a variety of disciplines want to incorporate certain trauma-informed and family-centered practices at each stage of treatment to improve experiences for caregivers and outcomes for pediatric patients with severe TBI. Future research should test the feasibility and effectiveness of incorporating routine psychosocial interventions for these patients.

Keywords: family-centered care; traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / psychology
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic / rehabilitation*
  • Caregivers / psychology*
  • Child
  • Family / psychology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Personnel
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Psychosocial Intervention*