S Afr Med J. 2023 May 5;113(5):46-53. doi: 10.7196/SAMJ.2023.v113i5.16791.
BACKGROUND: Spinal cord injuries typically result in a range of negative health outcomes and health states, which impacts overall functioning, health and well-being. It remains important to establish the prevalence (burden) of health outcomes to help with the development of optimal treatment strategies.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence and treatment rates of secondary health conditions (SHCs) and mental health states in persons with long-term spinal cord injury (SCI) receiving public compared with private healthcare services in South Africa.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey included 200 community-dwelling persons with long-term SCI, 60% with paraplegia, 53% with complete injuries and 156 from the public and 44 from private healthcare sectors. The following modules of the International Spinal Cord Injury (InSCI) community survey were used: (i) demographic and injury characteristics; (ii) SHCs and treatment rates; and (iii) vitality and emotional well-being. All statistical analyses were stratified according to healthcare sector.
RESULTS: Pain (47% v. 57), sexual dysfunction (59% v. 41%) and muscle spasms (54% v. 43%) were the most common SHCs in both cohorts, and the period prevalence was significantly higher for sleeping problems (41% v. 25%), sexual dysfunction (59% v. 41%) and contractures (42% v. 20%) in the public compared with the private cohort. Persons with SCI in the private cohort received treatment more often for sleeping problems (100% v. 45%), autonomic dysreflexia (75% v. 27%) and pain (56% v. 33%) than their counterparts with public insurance. Negative mental health states were prevalent in both groups.
CONCLUSION: SHCs and negative mental health were common in persons with SCI in South Africa, while those with public insurance reporter a higher occurrence of sleep problems and contractures, as well as lower treatment rates. Overall, a need exists to better support persons with SCI in the long-term context to facilitate improved functioning and wellbeing.
PMID:37170601 | DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2023.v113i5.16791
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