Citation: Lindsay, S., Hartman, L., Reed, N., Gan, C., Thomson, N., & Solomon, B. (2015). A systematic review of hospital-to-school reintegration interventions for children and youth with acquired brain injury. PLoS ONE, 10(4), e0124679.

    Research Type: Systematic Review

    Abstract: Objectives: We reviewed the literature on interventions that aimed to improve hospital-to-school reintegration for children and youth with acquired brain injury (ABI). ABI is the leading cause of disability among children and youth. A successful hospital-to-school reintegration process is essential to the rehabilitative process. However, little is known about the effective components of of such interventions. Methods and findings: Our research team conducted a systematic review, completing comprehensive searches of seven databases and selected reference lists for relevant articles published in a peer-reviewed journal between 1989 and June 2014. We selected articles for inclusion that report on studies involving: a clinical population with ABI; sample had an average age of 20 years or younger; an intentional structured intervention affecting hospital-to-school transitions or related components; an experimental design; and a statistically evaluated health outcome. Two independent reviewers applied our inclusion criteria, extracted data, and rated study quality. A meta-analysis was not feasible due to the heterogeneity of the studies reported. Of the 6933 articles identified in our initial search, 17 articles (reporting on 350 preadolescents and adolescents, aged 4–19, (average age 11.5 years, SD: 2.21) met our inclusion criteria. They reported on interventions varying in number of sessions (one to 119) and session length (20 minutes to 4 hours). The majority of interventions involved multiple one-to-one sessions conducted by a trained clinician or educator, homework activities, and parental involvement. The interventions were delivered through different settings and media, including hospitals, schools, and online. Although outcomes varied (with effect sizes ranging from small to large), 14 of the articles reported at least one significant improvement in cognitive, social, psychological, or behavioral functioning or knowledge of ABI. Conclusions: Cognitive, behavioral, and problem-solving interventions have the potential to improve school reintegration for youth with ABI. However, more comprehensive interventions are needed to help link rehabilitation clinicians, educators, adolescents, and families. Link to full article.