Content » Vol 44, Issue 11

Review article

Supporting family members of people with traumatic brain injury using telehealth: A systematic review

Rachael Rietdijk, Leanne Togher, Emma Power
Disipline of Speech Patho-logy, Faculty of Health Sciences, , University of Sydney, 1825 Lidcombe, Australia. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1058


Objective: To describe the effectiveness of using telehealth programs to provide training or support to family members of people with traumatic brain injury.
Design: Systematic review.
Data sources: Intervention studies were identified by searching Medline, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web of Science, Scopus, the Cochrane library, Embase, PsycBITE and ProQUEST.
Study selection: Studies included in the review reported an intervention involving family members of adults or children with traumatic brain injury, delivered at a distance through use of technology (including telephone, websites or video-conferencing). Reliability of inclusion of studies in the review was high (Kappa = 0. 816) based on a second reviewer evaluating a random sample of 25% of the 830 references originally identified from the database search.
Data extraction: Data describing the participants, interventions and outcomes were extracted from each study. The quality of studies was evaluated using the PEDro-P scale.
Data synthesis: The review identified 7 randomised controlled trials, 4 non-randomised controlled trials and 5 case series studies. The studies involved a variety of program formats and intervention targets. All but one study reported positive outcomes of the telehealth programs, however very few studies used blinded assessors.
Conclusions: Telehealth programs for family members of people with traumatic brain injury are feasible, with positive outcomes reported. Further research is needed to strengthen the evidence for the use of telehealth in comparison to face-to-face interventions, and to provide information to guide clinical decision-making.

Lay Abstract

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