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EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL AND REHABILITATION MEDICINE
Rivista di Medicina Fisica e Riabilitativa dopo Eventi Patologici
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Indexed/Abstracted in: CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
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Europa Medicophysica 1999 Giugno;35(2):49-59
Family, vocational and social reintegration of spinal cord injured patients following discharge from a rehabilitation centre
Lotta S., Nora M., Boselli M., Bocchi R., Nicolotti D.
“G. Verdi” Rehabilitation Centre, Villanova sull’Arda (PC), Azienda USL - Piacenza, Italy
BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to evaluate the social, vocational and family reintegration of a sample of 50 spinal cord injured patients following discharge from a Rehabilitation Centre. Recent data in the literature indicate that the quality of life (QoL or QL) of SCI subjects is strongly related to maintenance of self, mobility, exchanges of information, social relationships, education, work, leisure time, financial life, civil and social life. With reference to the data from the literature, we calculated the percentage of patients who achieved the conditions that seemed to influence QL.
METHODS: Included in the study were 50 patients, 36 paraplegics and 14 tetraplegics, who had been admitted to the Centre and discharged at least 6 months previously. The patients were evaluated using a questionnaire which included items related to their state of health, family life, occupation, means of economic support, mobility, social integration and subjective perception of QL. Items pertinent to the aims of the present study were selected from questionnaires and evaluation scales present in the literature.
RESULTS: Results are presented schematically in tables and graphs. On the whole, the data on family reintegration were positive with 100% of the sample returning to their nuclear family. Vocational reintegration represents a still unsolved problem: the number of employed subjects decreased from 66 to 28% and only 16% of the patients were financially independent. The evaluation of social reintegration is complex in that it is affected by various factors, objective and subjective, able to accentuate or lessen the impact of the disability on an individual’s life. One noteworthy finding was that the degree of satisfaction with QL (VAS) was similar in the paraplegics and tetraplegics, irrespective of the lesion level.
CONCLUSIONS: The data yielded from the present study provide us with a general view of the social, vocational and family reintegration of the 50 subjects considered. The present approach allowed us to determine the achievement of goals such as the return to family life, work and the community, all of which are considered determinant elements of a satisfactory QL, and underscore the importance of pursuing functional goals during hospitalisation as their achievement facilitates reintegration following discharge.