Barriers and strategies for coordinating care among veterans with traumatic brain injury: a mixed methods study of VA polytrauma care team members

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, Division of Health Informatics and Implementation Science

Publication Date


Document Type



Health Communication | Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Military and Veterans Studies | Nervous System Diseases


BACKGROUND: Veterans who experience traumatic brain injury (TBI) may have long-term needs placing a premium on well-coordinated care. This study aimed to (1) identify barriers to care coordination for Veterans with TBI; and (2) describe strategies used by VA polytrauma care team members to coordinate care for Veterans with TBI.

METHODS: We utilised a mixed method design, including an online survey of VA polytrauma care team members (N = 236) and subsequent semi-structured interviews (N = 25). Analysis of the survey data was descriptive; interview data was analysed using constant comparative techniques.

RESULTS: The most common system-related barriers 25 for access to military records (64%) and insufficient time (58%). The most common patient-related barriers were missed appointments/no shows (87%) and the mental health issues (74%). Strategies reported on the survey to promote coordination reflected the centrality of teamwork and communication, and included promoting multidisciplinary team collaboration (32%) and holding 30 regular meetings (23%). Interview findings were consistent, emphasising the effective functioning of multidisciplinary clinics.

CONCLUSION: Polytrauma care team members encounter barriers to care coordination for Veterans with TBI, and have developed strategies in response. Information sharing, provider workload, communication, and patient engagement will be critical to address in future efforts to enhance care coordination in this context.


Traumatic brain injury, Veterans, coordination

DOI of Published Version



Brain Inj. 2018 Mar 14:1-8. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2018.1444205. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Brain injury

PubMed ID


Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed