Preventive care among primary care patients living with spinal cord injury
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OBJECTIVE: Context/Objective: Family physicians may lack the knowledge or resources to adequately support patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). Our objectives were to determine patterns of preventive care for patients with SCI in a primary care setting (i.e. cancer screening, influenza vaccinations, general physicals, bone mineral density tests), and determine physicians' level of comfort with providing primary care to patients with SCI. DESIGN: i) Retrospective chart review, ii) Survey of physicians in the family practice. SETTING: Six primary care practice sites in Ontario, Canada. PARTICIPANTS: All adult rostered patients of the family practice with SCI; All family physicians in the six sites. OUTCOME MEASURES: Proportion of patients up-to-date on cancer screening, proportion of patients with influenza vaccinations, general physicals, bone mineral density tests; physicians' level of comfort with providing care to patients with SCI. RESULTS: Sixty patients were included in analyses. Rates of cancer screening were generally poor. The highest uptake was seen for cervical cancer screening, where 50% of eligible women were up-to-date on Pap tests. Only 36.7% of patients were up-to-date on colorectal cancer screening. Only 14 (23.3%) patients had a documented general physical exam in their electronic record. There was a recorded flu vaccination for 55% of patients, and of those, there was a median of 19 months since last vaccination. Fifteen physicians (21.4%) responded to the survey. Ten physicians reported at least one patient with SCI, with the maximum being 20 patients. Comfort level in managing SCI-relevant conditions varied and was lowest for spasticity, respiratory issues and autonomic dysreflexia, where only 27.3% of respondents had some level of comfort. CONCLUSION: There are many opportunities to improve the preventive care of patients living with SCI.
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