Rehabilitation needs assessment in persons with spinal cord injury following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti: a pilot study using an ICF-based tool

J Rehabil Med. 2011 Nov;43(11):969-75. doi: 10.2340/16501977-0896.


Objective: The aim of this pilot study was to describe problems in functioning and associated rehabilitation needs in persons with spinal cord injury after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti by applying a newly developed tool based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF).

Design: Pilot study.

Subjects: Eighteen persons with spinal cord injury (11 women, 7 men) participated in the needs assessment. Eleven patients had complete lesions (American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale; AIS A), one patient had tetraplegia.

Methods: Data collection included information from the International Spinal Cord Injury Core Data Set and a newly developed needs assessment tool based on ICF Core Sets. This tool assesses the level of functioning, the corresponding rehabilitation need, and required health professional. Data were summarized using descriptive statistics.

Results: In body functions and body structures, patients showed typical problems following spinal cord injury. Nearly all patients showed limitations and restrictions in their activities and participation related to mobility, self-care and aspects of social integration. Several environmental factors presented barriers to these limitations and restrictions. However, the availability of products and social support were identified as facilitators. Rehabilitation needs were identified in nearly all aspects of functioning. To address these needs, a multidisciplinary approach would be needed.

Conclusion: This ICF-based needs assessment provided useful information for rehabilitation planning in the context of natural disaster. Future studies are required to test and, if necessary, adapt the assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disabled Persons / classification
  • Earthquakes*
  • Female
  • Haiti
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / classification
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*