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Original Research

Cognitive rehabilitation groups: A thematic analysis of feasibility and perceived benefits for clients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury living in the Western Cape

Abigail Wilson, Peta Wills, Chrisma Pretorius, Leslie Swartz

African Journal of Disability; Vol 4, No 1 (2015), 7 pages. doi: 10.4102/ajod.v4i1.175

Submitted: 09 December 2014
Published:  20 August 2015


Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has a significant impact on the burden of care within the South African setting, impacting on the individual, the family, and the community as a whole. Often the consequences of TBI are permanent, resulting in numerous financial and emotional stressors.

Objective: This research focusses on the experience of outpatient cognitive rehabilitation groups for individuals who have suffered moderate to severe brain injuries within the South African setting.

Method: Participants with moderate to severe brain injury were required to attend five cognitive rehabilitation groups and engage in a semistructured interview. Qualitative data were examined via thematic analysis, to determine participants’ subjective experiences of group participation.

Results: There is a need within the South African setting for cognitive rehabilitation and support groups for individuals who have experienced a TBI. The benefits were notable for both the individuals attending and their support systems. In spite of the benefits there were notable limitations to attendance, including financial restrictions and transport limitations.

Conclusion: According to participants and their families, there is a scarcity of resources within the Western Cape for clients who have sustained a TBI. Despite limitations in capacity to attend there appears to be a need for structured outpatient cognitive rehabilitation programmes integrating the complex cognitive and emotional challenges faced by individuals with TBI and their families.

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Author affiliations

Abigail Wilson, Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Peta Wills, Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre, Cape Town, South Africa
Chrisma Pretorius, Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Leslie Swartz, Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


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ISSN: 2223-9170 (print) | ISSN: 2226-7220 (online)

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