Experiences of people with non-traumatic spinal cord injuries returning home after inpatient rehabilitation

Disabil Rehabil. 2023 Jan 2:1-7. doi: 10.1080/09638288.2022.2162611. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to explore the experience of people with non-traumatic spinal cord injuries who have recently returned home from inpatient rehabilitation.

METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven adults with non-traumatic spinal cord injuries who had been discharged from inpatient rehabilitation from an Australian rehabilitation hospital, within the last two years.

RESULTS: Three themes were identified: the practicalities of coming home; adjusting to “my altered home life”; pursuing recovery. When people felt prepared by their rehabilitation service, and had appropriate support from others, they had a more positive adjustment experience, although not one without challenges. Due to less independence and inability to participate in meaningful life roles, participants experienced a sense of lost or changed identity. Maintaining hope for physical recovery was very important and motivated participants to actively engage in rehabilitation efforts.

CONCLUSIONS: This study adds to the knowledge regarding the lived experience of people with non-traumatic spinal cord injury transitioning from rehabilitation to home. Facilitators for successful rehabilitation discharge included ensuring community services contacted patients immediately after they left hospital, and providing support for carers. Health care workers can positively influence the adjustment process of people with NTSCI by facilitating re-engagement in meaningful roles.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATIONThe transition home from inpatient rehabilitation after non-traumatic spinal cord injury (NTSCI) is facilitated by early discharge planning and follow-up from services after discharge.Establishing routines helped participants adjust to their new circumstances.The emotional and practical support of carers is vital for successful adjustment to living in the community with an NTSCI.Health care workers can positively influence the adjustment process of people with NTSCI by facilitating their re-engagement in meaningful roles.

PMID:36591728 | DOI:10.1080/09638288.2022.2162611

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