Experiences of recovery and posthospital care needs of working-age adults after physical trauma: A qualitative focus group study

Ruud T J Roodbeen, Marjolein Lugtenberg, Heide Pöstges, Koen W W Lansink, Hilco P Theeuwes, Mariska A C De Jongh, Margot C W Joosen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


To explore experiences of recovery after physical trauma and identify long-term needs for posthospital care.

Design, participants and setting:
A qualitative study was conducted consisting of seven online focus groups among working-age adults who sustained their injury between 9 months and 5 years ago. Trauma patients discharged from a level 1 trauma centre in the Netherlands were divided into three groups based on the type of their physical trauma (monotrauma, polytrauma and traumatic brain injury). Group interviews were transcribed verbatim, and thematic analysis was conducted.

Despite differences in type and severity of their injuries, participants all struggled with the impact that trauma had on various aspects of their lives. They experienced recovery as an unpredictable and inconstant process aimed at resuming a meaningful life. Work was often perceived as an important part of recovery, though the value attributed to work could change over time. Participants struggled to bring the difficulties they encountered in their daily lives and at work to the attention of healthcare professionals (HCPs). While posthospital care needs varied between and across groups, all people stressed the need for flexible access to person-centred, multidisciplinary care and support after hospital discharge.

This study reveals that people with a broad variety of injury experience recovery as a process towards resuming a meaningful life and report the need to expand trauma care to include comprehensive support to live well long term. Person-centred care might be helpful to enable HCPs to take people’s individual long-term needs and life situations into account. Furthermore, providing timely access to coordinated, multidisciplinary care after discharge is advocated. Integrated care models that span a network of multidisciplinary support around the person may help align existing services and may facilitate easy and timely access to the most suitable support for injured people and their loved ones.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere053330
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • occupational & industrial medicine
  • orthopaedic & trauma surgery
  • qualitative research
  • rehabilitation medicine


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