Book review: Family Experience of Brain Injury: Surviving, Coping and Adjusting

Family Experience of Brain Injury: Surviving, Coping and Adjusting (Jo Clark-Wilson and Mark Holloway, Routledge, 2019, paperback, ebook, c£19.99)

This book packs worlds within its short compass – worlds which have been the subject of dramatic upheaval in consequence of brain injury. Drawing from both research (the PhD of Mark Holloway), and the combined 60 years’ work of the authors with individuals with brain injuries and their families, the book draws its power, and its practical utility, from its approach. The core of the book represents narratives (whether an interview or, in some cases, a written account) from family members, together with professional responses, and the balance between the two is struck exactly right as to give space but also context.

The book draws out, importantly, many of the different family relationships impacted – whether that be ‘vertical’ or ‘horizontal’ – and seeks to advance no agenda in respect of those relationships, rather letting those family members speak for themselves, and responding to what they say. I would entirely agree with the publisher’s description that this “is essential reading for individuals and families touched by brain injury and will give multi-disciplinary professionals, such as medics, nurses, psychologists, therapists, social workers, rehabilitation practitioners and clinical supervisors, a greater understanding of their role in helping the affected family.” I would add to that list that it is of equal utility and importance for lawyers who may (in whatever context) find themselves involved in decision-making in relation to those affected by brain injury.

[Full disclosure: I was sent a review copy by one of the authors. I am always happy to review works in or related to the field of mental capacity, health and mental law (broadly defined)]

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