Family Experience of Brain Injury : Surviving, Coping, Adjusting book cover
1st Edition

Family Experience of Brain Injury
Surviving, Coping, Adjusting

ISBN 9781138896697
Published September 25, 2019 by Routledge
188 Pages

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USD $36.95

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Book Description

Brain Injury not only affects its victim, but those around them. In many cases, relatives are often overlooked despite facing many obstacles accepting and adjusting to a new way of life. Family Experience of Brain Injury showcases a unique collaboration between relatives of brain injured individuals and professionals from the field of neurorehabilitation. Family members from all different viewpoints tell their story and how the brain injury of a loved one has affected them.

This book provides a space for those hidden and marginalised voices, the people who are in for the long haul, often dismissed by services and left to cope in isolation. By combining expert commentary with real life experiences, this book points towards sources of support, normalises the experience and provides a context for understanding the grief and losses of family members. Not only will the hard-earnt knowledge and wisdom evident in this book help educate health and social care staff, it highlights how love, commitment, hope and perseverance, against a seemingly unbearable grief, can remain.

It is essential reading for individuals and families touched by brain injury and will give multi-disciplinary professionals, such as medics, nurses, psychologists, therapists, social workers, rehabilitation practitioners and clinical supervisors, a greater understanding of their role in helping the affected family.

Table of Contents


Dr Alyson Norman, psychologist and sister of a severely brain injured brother


Mark Holloway


  1. Introduction
  2. Jo Clark Wilson and Mark Holloway

  3. Acquired Brain Injury and Families
  4. Jackie Dean, Jo Clark Wilson and Mark Holloway

  5. The Family and the Team
  6. Dan talks to Dr Siobhan Palmer about his son Paul

  7. Behaviour, Vulnerability and the Criminal Justice System
  8. Jeanne describes the challenges faced by her son Adam’s brain injury, Jackie Dean reflects upon this story

  9. Grief without end
  10. Laura’s story of her husband John and the stroke that so affected their lives. Dr Giles Yeates reflects upon this story

  11. Support of Siblings
  12. Eliza and Grace, both sisters of severely brain injured people, tell their stories to Jo Clark Wilson

  13. Children’s Challenges
  14. Alistair, Beatrix and their mother Christine describe the impact of their father/husband’s brain injury and Deidre describes the events and outcome of the accident that killed her mother and severely brain injured father

  15. The Impact of Acquired Brain Injury on the Family: Common Themes, Threads and Differences
  16. Jo Clark Wilson and Mark Holloway

  17. What may Help?
  18. Jo Clark Wilson and Mark Holloway

  19. In Conclusion

         Jo Clark Wilson and Mark Holloway



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Jo qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1979, then studied with the Open University to complete a degree in psychology and research. She has had the privilege of working with individuals with brain injury and their families for the past 30 years.

By accident Mark became a support worker for people with brain injuries nearly 30 years ago, he qualified as a social worker in 1995 and continues to work with individuals and families affected by brain injury.


"Stop for a moment and think about the person you love most. It may be a child, perhaps a wife, partner or husband, maybe your sister or brother. Now imagine fate intervening, and this special person suffers a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other form of acquired brain injury. Those who survive, come back to the land of the living, but irrevocably changed as persons - different from the person whom the relative fell in love with. Most academic textbooks fail to capture the effects the tragedy of acquired brain injury has on those around the patient - the relatives. Family Experience of Brain Injury: Surviving, Coping, Adjusting does not. Through the powerful narratives of relatives telling their unique stories, and commentaries by professionals, the lifelong journey of grief, loss, compassion and hope families go through, is vividly told. While this is a book primarily intended for those working with families after brain injury, all clinicians, academics and researchers working in the field of neurorehabilitation should read this book." - Dr Rudi Coetzer, Consultant Neuropsychologist & Head of Service, North Wales Brain Injury Service, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board NHS Wales, UK.


"Family experience of brain injury, by Jo Clark-Wilson and Mark Holloway dives deep into the lived experience of familial care for people with acquired brain injury. It presents a polyphony of views from relatives and their 'expert companions', providing multi-cited insights into the private world of families caring for a relative who has suffered a brain injury.

After the introduction and chapter 1 provide a context to the narratives, chapters 3-7 provide rich, unflinching explorations of parents, spouses, siblings and children's experience of a loved one with ABI. Each is contextualized by the observations of a practitioners who worked collaboratively with them. Chapter 8 draws together the key themes from the chapters, before chapter 9 highlights the hard-learned lessons that have been shared.

Brain injury is an existential crisis; 'without warning, without choice, we are other' (Skloot 2003:ix). Clark-Wilson and Holloway's conclusion notes that the families of people with ABI are often in a unique position of being able to accurately describe the pre and post-accident history of their relative with ABI. As the authors remark, the family members curate the narrative of the one they love. This compelling book tells their stories, with compassion and honesty."Dr Andy Mantell, Principal Lecturer, Health and Social Care