Original Research

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
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 78, No 1 | a1631 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v78i1.1631 | © 2022 Estelle Buys, Thayananthee Nadasan, Ntsikelelo Pefile, Michael O. Ogunlana, Deshini Naidoo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2021 | Published: 27 May 2022

About the author(s)

Estelle Buys, Private Practice, Durban, South Africa
Thayananthee Nadasan, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Ntsikelelo Pefile, Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Michael O. Ogunlana, Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa; and, Department of Physiotherapy, Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Nigeria
Deshini Naidoo, Department of Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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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; spinal cord injury; functioning; participation; Reintegration to Normal Living Index (RNLI)

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