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Needs Often Unmet After Violently Acquired Spinal Injury

Lack of education, support, proper housing, and information take toll

TUESDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Upon release from rehabilitative hospitalization, patients suffering from violently acquired spinal cord injury (VASCI) resulting from gunshot wounds face psychological, social and economic barriers to a successful functional recovery and social reintegration, according to research published in the February issue of Applied Nursing Research.

Thilo Kroll, Ph.D., of the University of Dundee in Scotland, surveyed 11 nursing and rehabilitation health care professionals from a large rehabilitative hospital in Washington, D.C., that treats many cases of VASCI. Questions focused on the differences in rehabilitating VASCI versus non-VASCI patients, barriers to the patients' rehabilitation needs, and training needs for rehabilitation staff.

Respondents reported that VASCI patients in the rehabilitation hospital setting usually meet their functional goals, but they are not psychologically prepared for life after discharge. These patients suffer physical, social and economic barriers at home. They may not have family or social support, the financial ability to make their homes wheelchair-accessible, jobs, vocational training, transportation, psychological help, or other requirements for long-term rehabilitation. Health care professionals also wanted to have access to better information on services available to these patients both in and outside the hospital.

"Our findings…imply the need for improved post-discharge support for VASCI survivors based on coordinated and integrated health and social care systems," Kroll writes.

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