International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Open Access

ISSN: 2329-9096

+44 1300 500008


A Prospective Study of the Change in Quality of Life in Adults with a Newly Acquired Spinal Cord Injury

Rebecca Guest, Nicholson Perry K, Yvonne Tran, James Middleton and Ashley Craig

Objective: Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a catastrophic injury impairing body systems and functions with secondary conditions like infections, chronic pain and fatigue having major negative impacts on functionality and well-being. The objective of this research was to conduct a prospective study of the change in health related quality of life (HRQOL) from the hospitalization stage to six months following discharge in adults with SCI. Methods: Participants included 91 adults with SCI, admitted over two-years into three SCI Units in Sydney, Australia. Multiple measures were taken, including socio-demographic and injury-related variables. Health related quality of life (HR-QOL) was assessed using the Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) on three occasions, the first soon after admission to rehabilitation, the second within 2 weeks of discharge and the third six-months after discharge. Results: After six months of living in the community, QOL of the SCI sample was significantly lower than Australian adult norms for all SF-36 domains except mental health. QOL domains such as physical functioning and vitality significantly improved from admission to discharge and 6 months after discharge. In contrast, SF-36 general health scores had deteriorated significantly 6 months after discharge. There was a non-significant trend for emotional functioning to also deteriorate 6 months after discharge. No improvement in the SF-36 pain interference scores were found over the time of the three assessments. Conclusion: SCI has a substantial negative impact on QOL for domains such as physical functioning, physical role, pain and health. While participants showed some improvement in HR-QOL at discharge and 6 months after discharge, it is a concern that adults with SCI living in the community continue to have significantly lower QOL. Considered advancements in