A substantial proportion of survivors after brain injuries originating from trauma, tumour, or stroke may experience reduced ability to work due to a number of challenges. The purpose of this review is to summarize and highlight factors that have been perceived and reported as important in order to return to work after an acquired brain injury. A qualitative ethnographic meta-synthesis is used to interpret and develop concepts from studies retrieved from systematic searches in the electronic databases PubMed, PsycINFO, and ISI Web of Science. A total of 16 studies were included in the meta-synthesis. Four key concepts were identified as important for return to work after an acquired brain injury: empowerment, self-awareness, motivation, and facilitation.
The results of the meta-synthesis indicate that personal development is experienced as essential in order to return to work after an acquired brain injury, involving identification of each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. These personal factors intersect with an emphasis of the employer providing a certain degree of facilitation in the workplace. All of these aspects will affect one’s motivation to return to work and can therefore be crucial to succeed.