Barriers for individuals with spinal cord injury returning to the community: a preliminary classification

Disabil Health J. 2012 Jul;5(3):190-6. doi: 10.1016/j.dhjo.2012.03.005. Epub 2012 May 10.


Background: With decreased length of stay for inpatient rehabilitation, individuals with newly acquired spinal cord injury (SCI) might be discharged back into the community without the level of knowledge and functional skills necessary to live successfully post injury. This research studied the course of recovery and outcomes after the delivery of a coordinated inpatient rehabilitation system of care for individuals with SCI.

Objective: Individuals with newly acquired SCI face numerous barriers during reintegration into the community. The purpose of this article is to identify and develop a preliminary classification of barriers to community reintegration that persons with SCI experience during the post-acute period.

Methods: This 1-year study is the qualitative arm of a randomized controlled pilot study. Twenty-six people with SCI participated (mean age 40.6 years, 81% male and 54% tetraplegic). Self-reported data were collected during the first year post discharge from inpatient rehabilitation.

Results: The three most common categories of self-reported barriers were mobility and equipment issues (23%), lack of environmental, and home assistance (20%), and insurance issues (18%). The two most common specific barriers were lack of insurance coverage (6.5% of all reported barriers) and residing in a nursing home (5.4%).

Conclusion: Our findings provide a preliminary classification of the barriers newly injured persons with SCI encounter during the post-acute period.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Environment Design
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Female
  • Health Services / standards*
  • Home Care Services
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Insurance
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Nursing Homes
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Young Adult