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Development of a Telephone Follow-up Program for Individuals Following Traumatic Brain Injury

Bell, Kathleen R. MD; Hoffman, Jeanne M. PhD; Doctor, Jason N. PhD; Powell, Janet M. PhD; Esselman, Peter MD; Bombardier, Charles PhD; Fraser, Robert PhD; Dikmen, Sureyya PhD

Section Editor(s): Zafonte, Ross DO

The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: November-December 2004 - Volume 19 - Issue 6 - p 502–512
Focus on Clinical Practice

Objective To describe the development of a telephone follow-up program that addresses the needs of survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their families in the year following injury. The process of developing the program is reviewed from the initial steps of identifying needs through final implementation of the program.

Participants Eighty-four TBI survivors with moderate to severe injuries and their families.

Results Descriptive statistics are presented including number of contacts, areas of concern for participants, and the types of interventions conducted. Case examples are provided to illustrate the impact of the telephone follow-up program.

Conclusion This project demonstrated the feasibility of using the telephone as a means of providing information and support during the first year after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. Telephone follow-up may enhance service provision for persons with TBI, especially those with a lack of transportation or geographic isolation.

Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine (Drs Bell, Hoffman, Doctor, Powell, Esselman, Bombardier, and Dikmen), Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics (Dr Doctor), Health Services (Dr Doctor), Neurosurgery (Dr Dikmen), and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Dr Dikmen), University of Washington, Seattle, Wash.

Corresponding author: Kathleen R. Bell, MD, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Box 356490, Seattle, WA 98195 (e-mail:

This study was performed at the University of Washington's Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seattle, Wash, and supported by a grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research through the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems Project (H133A980023 and H133A020508). The authors are indebted to Nancy Temkin, PhD, Ralph Dalisky, MSW, and Michelle Garner, MSW, for their assistance in making this program possible.

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.