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EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL AND REHABILITATION MEDICINE
Rivista di Medicina Fisica e Riabilitativa dopo Eventi Patologici
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ORIGINAL ARTICLES SPINAL CORD INJURIES
Europa Medicophysica 2000 September;35(3):155-60
GISEM: The methodology of the study
Department of Prevention, Ministry of Health, Rome, Italy
BACKGROUND: The Italian Group for the Epidemiological Study of Spinal Cord Injuries (GISEM) is formed by physicians and health care workers dedicated to the field of rehabilitation. It was created in 1996 with the aim of studying the characteristics and management of patients with spinal cord injuries (SCI). The aim of the present work is to describe the methodology of the study.
METHODS: The study involved setting up a multi-centre database on SCI in Italy. Information was collected prospectively from each centre and concerned discharges from the participating centres in the period February 1 1997 - January 31, 1999. Data were collected using an 80-item computerised form, recorded on floppy disk and sent to the co-ordinating centre for analysis every three months. The scientific committee that proposed and organised the study drew up the protocol. Meetings were held by the committee every six months to discuss the progress of the study.
RESULTS: Thirty-seven centres mostly situated in northern and central Italy participated. When the study was concluded on January 31 1999, information on 2210 admissions for SCI had been collected. Of these, 280 were persons admitted more than once and/or to different centres during the study period.
CONCLUSIONS: The GISEM study has provided the largest Italian data set on SCI, gathering a large body of information on aetiology and the care and rehabilitation of SCI patients. This information provides a base on which future health care policies can be evaluated and acts as a source for improving the standard of care and rehabilitation in Italy.