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Brain injury, rehabilitation, humor



  1. O'Reilly, Kate BN, MClinRehab


Purpose: The aim of the study was to describe how paid carers use humor in providing compassionate post-intensive rehabilitation care to young adults with acquired brain injury (ABI) who are unable to perform or direct their own care.


Design: This is a qualitative study underpinned by symbolic interactionism.


Methods: Paid carers in a residential aged care facility were interviewed. Interview data were analyzed using grounded theory methods of coding, comparative analysis, memoing, and theoretical sampling.


Findings: With young adult's assent, paid carers appropriately used humor, at times even crude humor, as a rehabilitative tool to activate and elicit responses from young people with ABI who could not perform or direct their own care. The use of humor while caring for this population demonstrated that compassion still exists within nursing; however, it may not always be reverent.


Conclusions/Clinical Relevance: Humor may be an effective way to provide compassionate care and can be used as a rehabilitative tool to elicit responses from young people with ABI who have no means of verbal communication.