Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Steven J. Danish


Family members of service personnel with polytraumatic injuries face a wide range of challenges. Research has shown that family member adaptation and adjustment to the caregiver role has a significant impact on the well-being of the person with the injuries. The Veterans Health Administration is rapidly developing services to meet the needs of severely injured service personnel and their family members. The purpose of the present study was to test the feasibility of a method of assessment to identify the needs of individual family members of service personnel and veterans receiving inpatient rehabilitation services at the Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center (PRC) located within the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia. Family member needs and emotional distress levels were quantitatively assessed. Qualitative data was collected with the intent of gaining a better understanding of the needs of families of individuals with severe injury from within a military cultural context. Results of this study suggest emotional distress levels of family members of persons receiving treatment on the PRC are not clinically significant. Study participants report overwhelming satisfaction with the program of care offered to patients and family members on the PRC. Furthermore, results of this study suggest that family members benefited from participating in the study. A strength-based family care pathway that utilizes an individual assessment of family needs is proposed and recommended for use with family members of individuals enrolled in the Veterans Health Administration polytrauma network services.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Psychology Commons