Date Presented 04/21/2023

The purpose of this study is to evaluate and understand patients’ perceptions of OT services and their impact on the client’s functional abilities after spinal cord injury, as well as identifying where gaps in treatment may be.

Primary Author and Speaker: Alexis Gerard

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study is to evaluate and understand the patient perceptions of occupational therapy services and their impact on the clients functional abilities, as well as identifying where gaps in treatment may be. This study design was chosen as the best fit to gain the patient’s perspective and obtain subjective data to make inferences.

METHOD: A 26 question survey was designed by researchers. The survey themes included training in sexuality, training in cooking, and training in self-care. The respondents were located via a facebook group for people with spinal cord injuries and a physiatrist office. Inclusion criteria included those who were 18+ years of age who have had a traumatic SCI injury resulting in tetraplegia or paraplegia and were discharged from occupational therapy services. Participants were excluded from the study if they did not meet these demographics, have a history of multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, stroke, guillain barre, transverse myelitis, or moderate and severe traumatic brain injury. Data was analyzed using Qualtrics.

RESULTS: The survey was initiated by 36 participants who indicated they had either paraplegia (N=19) or tetraplegia (n=17). Based on analysis of the Qualtrics data, potential gaps in occupational therapy services were indicated for individuals who receive spinal cord injury rehabilitation. Results of the survey indicated that more than half of participants wish they had more training in sexuality, cooking, and self-care (dressing, bathing, toileting, and grooming).

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study indicate there are gaps in occupational therapy rehabilitation services for persons with a spinal cord injury. Further research is needed to examine the high incidence rate of bladder infections despite survey responses indicating adequate ADL training. Potential exists for improvement in this service area with the collection of further data.


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