What Is Community Integration Anyway?: Defining Meaning Following Traumatic Brain Injury

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Abstract

Full community integration, or participation in society, is the ultimate goal of rehabilitation and of research conducted in the field of rehabilitation for persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Community integration has been traditionally defined by 3 main areas: employment or other productive activity, independent living, and social activity. However, these have not always received equal weighting and attention in clinical or research efforts. Significant gaps remain in our understanding of factors that impact community integration and in our ability to intervene to improve participation for persons with TBI. This article describes 3 main challenges for researchers and rehabilitation professionals. First, a comprehensive meaning of community integration is needed, which includes the viewpoints and preferences of persons with TBI. Second, cultural competence in measurement and intervention is needed. Third, a thorough assessment of environmental factors impacting participation is needed and should be incorporated into research and treatment planning.

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