The purpose of this paper is to explore the transition to community life, in relation to vocational goals and aspirations, for 18 people with traumatic brain injury following the discharge from a neurological rehabilitation hospital.
The study was a longitudinal qualitative study, framed within interpretivism. A phenomenological approach was employed. Participants, their significant other, and members of the rehabilitation team involved in their care were interviewed at the time of discharge from the ward, after six months and one year following discharge from the ward.
Themes which emerged from the data gave insights into the meaning and value of vocational occupations, impact of rehabilitation, insight and awareness, environmental influences, alteration to the life‐course and moving forward to a new life. Throughout, issues of identity and reconstruction were identified.
Use of alternative paradigms to the traditional medical viewpoint can raise awareness of issues of identity and biographical reconstruction which are less widely reported in rehabilitation literature.
Goals could be re‐framed and include moving forward to a life with meaning and purpose. For many, this could involve work and vocational occupations but for others it may not. The need to address concerns which are priorities of those in receipt of care is highlighted in order to support interventions and the reconstruction of identity and a life with value.
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