Introduction: Therapeutic education is an integrant part of the physical medicine and rehabilitation care of persons with spinal cord injury. It is often conducted in an empirical manner. The objective of this literature review was to evaluate the state of the art regarding the evaluations and therapeutic education programs for persons with spinal cord injury.
Material and method: Systematic review of the literature with Medline and Cochrane Library databases from 1966 to 2009.
Results: The main areas of interest, for the evaluations found in the literature, focused on clinical variables, patients' knowledge, health behaviors, functional independence and quality of life but also psychological dimensions such as health locus of control, representations, abilities to resolve problems and self-perceived efficacy. Ten clinical studies were retained for analysis. These clinical studies were built around various health and educational models. An impact was highlighted on clinical variables (pressure ulcer, urinary tract infection), knowledge, quality of life and psychological criteria (depression, self-perceived efficacy, coping and problem solving strategies).
Discussion and conclusion: The global level of evidence on the effects of therapeutic education in persons with spinal cord injury is low because of the number of studies and their low statistical power and requires additional studies. However, the analysis of the literature allows for discussing the organization of therapeutic education in clinical practice.
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