When assessing the quality of life experienced by people after Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), their integration into the wider community can be a helpful indicator, but in order to assess community integration accurately, we need a consistent measurement.

Currently, the instrument most frequently used for this purpose is the Community Integration Questionnaire (CIQ), originally developed by Professor Barry Willer from the University of Buffalo.

The CIQ consists of a series of questions designed to assessan individual's level of home, social and productivity integration.

In Australia, the CIQ is used by allied health professionals reporting to government bodies, and it is the TAC's key measure of outcome for claimants who have experience neurotrauma.

The usefulness of the CIQ in Australia has been limited by the fact that there is no available data indicating how a person without a disability would rate on this scale.

This normative data is vital, because it provides an anchor against which people with neurotrauma can be compared.

These comparisons can then help to guide the development of services, and are particularly important in light of the newly-launched National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and NationalInjury Insurance Scheme.

Dr Di Winkler from the Summer Foundation Ltd led research in this area with the objective of providing this data before the NDIS was officially introduced.

LibbyCallaway from Monash's Faculty ofMedicine, Nursing and Health later also became involved in this project, leading a team to update the CIQ for a new communication landscape by adding ameasure of online social media integration.

Status

This research concluded with a report presenting the revised and extendedCIQ, now incorporating an assessment of electronic social networking.

The report also summarises the gathered normative data, highlighting the ways in which community integration varies based on gender, age, living circumstances, and socio-economic/educational background.

These findings can be used to guide the direct the implementation of strategies to maximise integration outcomes for people with TBI, although the report recommends further research, particularly with regards to how social networking can be used to improve community engagement.

The Summer Foundation has since also produced a guidebook presenting the revised CIQ to government bodies, clinicians and researchers.

It is anticipated that this work will influence allied health practitioners, health service providers, and direct support worker practice, helping to maximise the health status, independence and participation outcomes of people with TBI.