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

J Rehabil Med. 2012 Nov 5;44(11):913-21

Rietdijk R, Togher L, Power E

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

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