Quality of life among people with acquired brain injury living in the community
Utilizing qualitative research methods, this study explored and then described perceptions of quality of life among six adults with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI), living in or near Regina, Saskatchewan. Theoretical frameworks regarding quality of life, disablement and sense of coherence were employed. Participants were 2-8 years postinjury. Each participated in three in-depth interviews, which followed an open-ended question format. Data were transcribed and then analyzed, resulting in complex and thick descriptions of participants' perceptions of quality of life. Losses due to the injury affected all aspects of their lives. They had fewer friends, and difficulty integrating into the community. There were fewer educational and work options, and less financial security. They relied on family to meet many of their needs. Participants also had a greater recovery than expected. All saw continued improvement. They recognized that life could be both better and worse. The perception of how good their lives were depended on a) what they were comparing it to, b) their attitude towards their lives, and c) what was currently happening to them. An exploration of personal attitudes and internal resources for living led to an examination of why people perceived their quality of life positively or negatively. This linkage between Antonovsky's Sense of Coherence and Quality of Life was a significant finding, and warrants further study. For the participants, quality of life was a highly individualized concept. Quality of life went beyond the traditional dimensions, to include those aspects that allow a person to feel good, account for life experiences and circumstances, and allow for hopefulness.