The purpose of this pilot study was to explore and interpret the way that individuals with acquired brain injury, admitted to inpatient neurorehabilitation with severe eating difficulties, experienced eating nine to fifteen months after discharge. Four individuals with acquired brain injury were interviewed via qualitative semi-structured interviews. An explorative study was conducted to study eating difficulties. Qualitative content analysis was used. Four main themes emerged from the analysis: personal values related to eating, swallowing difficulties, eating and drinking, meals and social life. Three predominating experiences were: fed by tube, “relearning” to eat, and eating meals together. The preliminary results regarding the four participants suggest that the meaning of food and being able to eat and take part in meals may be nearly the same as before the injury; however, having the ability to eat reduced or lost completely, even temporarily, was unexpected and difficult, and caused strong emotional reactions, even 18 months after injury. Time spent using a feeding tube had a negative, but not persistent, impact on quality-of-life. The preliminary findings provide knowledge regarding the patient perspective of adapting to and developing new strategies for activities related to eating, however, further prospective, longitudinal research in a larger scale and with repeated interviews is needed.
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