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This study aims to explore patients’ first-hand experiences of returning home and to compare their post-discharge experiences with their pre-discharge expectations.
Method: A qualitative follow-up study using inductive contents analysis. One month post-discharge, we re-interviewed seven Danish TSCI-patients, admitted for initial rehabilitation at the Spinal Cord Injury Centre of Western Denmark.
Findings: We identified two categories from the interviews: “The body as a fatiguing time-consumer causing dependence”, “The need for timely cooperation and collaboration”. The transversal analyses revealed the overall theme “Timing” highlighting the experiences of returning home.
Conclusion: Patients´ early post-discharge period is complicated by lack of timing in establishing training possibilities and providing equipment needed. This has consequences for the individual in terms of setbacks, and it imposes a burden on the patient, partner and close family. Hope of further progress was dominant, while delays threaten this hope for progress. In order to promote a smooth and safe return to home timing seems of crucial importance.