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Alexandra Olofsson has written the thesis "Opportunity for activity and participation outside the home for people with acquired brain injury". View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Research for a better everyday life after brain injury

Published: 8 April 2019

Unexpected situations, a change in the regular business or a sudden phone call may cause the person having a brain injury to go home.
- I have investigated how rehabilitation staff can help them handle unexpected events, says Alexandra Olofsson, who has written a doctoral thesis on the subject.

This is about people who have had an acquired brain injury, people with acquired brain injury, ABI, mainly because of stroke. The group studied by Alexandra Olofsson was between the ages of 28 and 64.

- I have done studies on how they experience activities outside the home and what knowledge occupational therapists and other rehabilitation staff need to help them find strategies to solve unexpected events, says Alexandra Olofsson.

Those affected by ABI quickly become tired.

- It usually becomes difficult to meet changes and stay in moving places.

She explains that many people choose to stay home instead of risking exposing themselves to challenging situations. It can lead to loneliness, isolation and depression.


Alexandra Olofsson is herself an occupational therapist and worked for four years as a teacher at the occupational therapist training at Luleå University of Technology before choosing to go on to graduate studies.

Now, her thesis "Opportunity for activity and participation outside the home for people with acquired brain injury" is ready. During the work she has done a lot of interviews, but also made observations.

- These are unique studies with the group at these ages, which are linked to activities outside the home, she says.

What these people did before they got their injury, like going to the theater, cinema, restaurant, supermarkets and sports halls, but also hospitals and health centers can now be difficult.

- It can be very challenging for these people.

One contributing factor to the fact that they no longer visit activities outside the home may be that they have lost their driving license or that it is difficult to use municipal transport.


In order to help them, occupational therapists and other rehabilitation staff should have a clearer focus on specific situations and places linked to activities outside the home show Alexandra Olofsson's studies.

It is important to gain an increased understanding of how the person acts in different situations. That knowledge can then help occupational therapists find strategies to help the people with the challenges that exist in unexpected events.

- It can be about planning, structuring and preparing, so that the person knows what can be done if something unforeseen occurs.

Alexandra Olofsson

Alexandra Olofsson, Senior Lecturer

Phone: +46 (0)920 492356
Organisation: Occupational therapy, Health, Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Health, Education and Technology