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Clinical and socio-demographic determinants of community reintegration in people with spinal cord injury in eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal province

Estelle Buys, Thayananthee Nadasan, Ntsikelelo Pefile, Michael O. Ogunlana, Deshini Naidoo

Abstract:Background: Community reintegration is a major outcome of rehabilitation after the acute phase in people with spinal cord injury (PWSCI). Objective: To investigated clinical and socio-demographic factors determining community participation in PWSCI, living in the greater eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal province. Method: Our quantitative, cross-sectional study had a convenient sample of 41 PWSCI. A trained interviewer obtained socio-demographic information using a structured questionnaire. Participants completed the Reintegration to Normal Living Index (RNLI). Descriptive statistics were used in summarising the data; inferential statistics, -a t-test and analysis of variance (ANOVA) assessed the association of clinical and socio-demographic factors with the extent of community reintegration. A multiple linear regression investigated the determinants of community reintegration with the alpha level set at p = 0.05. Results: Mean age of the participants was 41 years (s.d.: 10, range 25–66), with the majority (n = 32, 78%) being male. The mean RNLI score was 68% (s.d.: 22, range 24–100). Participants scored higher on the RNLI if they were male (mean difference [MD] 18%, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2–34), were employed (MD 16%, 95% CI: 0–32), had a salary (MD 19%, 95% CI: 5–32) and had no muscle spasms (MD 14%, 95% CI: 1–27. Muscle spasms (p = 0.012, 95% CI: 3.85–29.05) and being female PWSCI (p = 0.010, 95% CI: −35.75 to −5.18) were significant negative predictors of community reintegration. Conclusion: Community reintegration may be influenced by socio-economic factors. Special interventions for muscle spasms and support for women living with spinal cord injuries may enhance community reintegration. Clinical implication: Therapists need to focus on community reintegration with female PWSCI and on returning to PWSCI to work as this was improved community reintegration.
Keywords: community reintegration / PWSCI / living / spasms / demographic / spinal / cord / structured

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