Purpose: To explore the experiences of being a family with one member suffering from severe traumatic brain injury (STBI) up to 7 years earlier through narrative family interviews.
Methods: There are few studies where a family as a unit, including persons with STBI, are interviewed together. This study used a family systems research approach following a qualitative interpretative design. Therefore, 21 families with a total of 47 family members were interviewed. Qualitative content analysis was used to reveal categories with sub-categories and a theme.
Results: “From surviving STBI towards stability, through the unknown, into a new everyday life and a new future as a family” characterized the implicit message. The results revealed two categories both with three subcategories. The first category characterized the rapid change from a normal everyday life to one of uncertainty and finally to one of stability, and the second category described how it is to adapt as a family after STBI.
Conclusions: Long-term experiences of STBI show the importance for the whole family of belonging to a context, having a job, and having something to belong to as a way to achieve stability. Families` feelings of loneliness and lack of treatment and support are challenges for professionals when trying to involve families in care and rehabilitation.