Community participation for individuals with spinal cord injury living in Queensland, Australia
Carr J, Kendall M, Amsters D, Pershouse K, Kuipers P, Buettner P, Barker R
STUDY DESIGN: Sequential mixed method design.
OBJECTIVES: Determine factors associated with community participation for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI).
SETTING: Queensland, Australia.
METHODS: Phase I consisted of a quantitative telephone survey of 270 people who had sustained a SCI within the past 50 years. To verify and interpret survey findings, Phase II involved a qualitative investigation. One focus group, one dyadic and one in-depth interview were conducted with a separate sample of eight people who had sustained a SCI within the past 50 years.
RESULTS: In Phase I, employment, paid or unpaid, was the strongest independent factor associated with community participation, whereas time since injury, completeness of injury, secondary conditions and functional independence were also independently associated. In Phase II, participants expressed that survey findings were consistent with their lived experiences. They explained that overall, they needed a strong reason to participate so that benefits outweigh the effort required to participate. Once out in the community, they recognised that other opportunities for participation arise.
CONCLUSION: Rehabilitation services need to support individuals with SCI to find meaningful employment and to engage in activities that provide them with a strong reason to participate.