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Research Article  |   March 2001
“Tears in My Eyes ’Cause Somebody Finally Understood”: Client Perceptions of Practitioners Following Brain Injury
Author Affiliations
  • Amy R. Darragh, MS, OTR, is Instructor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut. At the time of this study, she was Research Associate, Department of Occupational Therapy, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Pat L. Sample, PhD, is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1573; sample@cahs.colostate.edu
  • Stephanie R. Krieger, MS, OTR/L, is Occupational Therapist, Streamwood Residential Center, Elgin, Illinois. At the time of this study, she was Graduate Research Assistant, Department of Occupational Therapy, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
Article Information
Neurologic Conditions / Traumatic Brain Injury / Physical Abilities
Research Article   |   March 2001
“Tears in My Eyes ’Cause Somebody Finally Understood”: Client Perceptions of Practitioners Following Brain Injury
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2001, Vol. 55, 191-199. doi:10.5014/ajot.55.2.191
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2001, Vol. 55, 191-199. doi:10.5014/ajot.55.2.191
Abstract

Objective.The purpose of this study was to identify practitioner qualities and traits that clients with brain injury see as important.

Method.An opportunistic sample of 51 participants with brain injury was interviewed about perceptions of service access and effectiveness. An interview guide was used to gather data for this phenomenological qualitative study. Four interviewers individually conducted audiotaped interviews, which were then transcribed. Coding and theme development were completed using HyperRESEARCH™ software.

Results.Three themes regarding practitioner qualities emerged from the data: (a) roles of the provider, (b) perceived helpfulness of services, and (c) personal characteristics of the providers. Beneficial provider roles included advocate, friend, mentor, and team member. Perceptions of helpfulness of the services included relevance, meaningfulness, practical application, skill development potential, and whether periodic feedback on progress was provided. Personal characteristics of the provider valued by the participants were clear and honest communicator, supportive, respectful, good listener, and understanding.

Conclusions.Practitioners need to pay increased attention to the perceptions of care and services of clients with brain injury. The current study closely supports previous research related to quality of care in the medical and community arenas and offers some additional suggestions to professionals who work with persons with brain injury, including learning how to time giving information to clients and how to understand client concerns without being prescriptive. Future research in this area needs to focus on and describe providers who demonstrate an ability—through their willingness to don a variety of roles, their helpful services, and their personal characteristics—to meet the unique needs of clients with brain injury.