Experiences of Rural Caregivers in Care Coordination for Students with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ed.S. in School Psychology


Department of Counselor Education and Human Services


Susan Davies


Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) can have a devastating impact on victims and their families. Families living in rural communities experience unique barriers to receiving care for complex medical needs. While little research exists surrounding TBI specifically, medical staff, school staff, and caregivers for children with complex medical conditions report a range of barriers and facilitators to coordinating care for their child. The current study explored the experiences of rural caregivers for children with TBI, gaining the insights of caregivers, school staff, and medical professionals who cared for a child with a TBI who transitioned to public school after the injury. Themes included the need to navigate complex situations, support from small communities, isolation and loneliness, differences in experience based on severity of injury, and feelings of hope. Barriers to quality care coordination included navigating complex situations, access to transportation, and lack of communication or education from agencies. Facilitators included support from small communities and interagency communication. Based on information from the interviews, more comprehensive coordination between agencies is recommended, including care coordination that was not limited to that covered by insurance. Implications for practitioners include being cognizant of the difficulties caregivers face, providing flexibility due to transportation barriers, creating more comprehensive care for students with mild TBI, and providing more education.


Traumatic Brain Injury, Concussion, Rural Communities, Rural Healthcare, Public Education, Special Education, Caregivers, Children with Medical Complexities, Children with Special Healthcare Needs, Education, Transition, Return to Learn, Students, School Psychology

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