Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Steven Danish


There is a great deal of literature in civilian rehabilitation settings that documents the tremendous impact a brain injury has on both the injured person and the family as a whole. TBI is a leading cause of both death and disability world-wide and is often cited as the signature injury of the ongoing OEF/OIF conflict. In 2005, Congress recognized the severity of injuries that military personnel were encountering in the OEF/OIF conflicts and created the Polytrauma System of Care (PSC). While the PSC has made great efforts to provide innovative and effective treatment for active duty and veteran patients, little is known about the needs of their family members. Given the tremendous impact TBI has on families and the important caregiving role assumed by many, there is an urgent need to better understand their needs. The Family Needs Questionnaire (FNQ) was administered to 44 family members of patients at the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center (PRC) at McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) over a 30 month period. Family members rated 40 needs indicating the importance and extent to which needs were met. Results were compared with findings from similar studies in civilian rehabilitation settings. A review of the rated needs indicated that PRC families rated the needs in the Health Information domain as most important and most frequently met. In addition, PRC family members rated Emotional Support and Instrumental Support as least important and most frequently unmet. Overall results were consistent with findings in civilian rehabilitation research, but subtle differences were examined. Exploratory analyses were conducted to examine a subset of family variables associated with needs indices. Needs were rated differently based on respondents', gender, income, relationship to patient, and time since injury. Results highlight similarities across family needs in rehabilitation settings. However, there remains a need for further research within VAMC PRC's that include a larger more diverse sample and participants utilizing both inpatient and outpatient services.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2010

Included in

Psychology Commons