Objectives: The study identified the issues for families affected by catastrophic injury in the early days post injury with a view to highlighting the need for some key changes to the system in Western Australia.

Methods: The research used a community participatory research framework to conduct the study. Overall, twenty-three carers of those with a catastrophic injury were interviewed using semi-structured interviewing technique. Transcripts were analysed using an iterative thematic analysis framework.

Results: The lack of preparedness for families in adapting to a family member with a permanent injury was highlighted. Experiences during the early days following the event had a major impact upon the family’s ability to adjust post injury.

Conclusion: A structured pathway is needed to allow families, especially those with children, to adjust to life after the event. Families who are not financially compensable are particularly vulnerable with inadequate support in adjusting to life with a family member following a traumatic catastrophic injury.

Practice implications: Changes to the system are recommended across a number of core areas to ensure equity of access for all of those with long term catastrophic injury


catastrophic injury, communication factors, family carer

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