Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury Care in Canada: A Survey of Canadian Centers
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Specialized centers of care for persons sustaining a traumatic spinal cord injury (tSCI) have been established in many countries, but the ideal system of care has not been defined. The objective of this study was to describe care delivery, with a focus on structures and services, for persons with tSCI in Canada. A survey was sent to 26 facilities (12 acute, 11 rehabilitation, and three integrated) from eight provinces participating in the Access to Care and Timing project. The survey included questions about: 1) care provision; 2) structural attributes and; 3) service availability. Survey completion rate was 100%. Data sources used to complete the survey were the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry, other hospital databases, clinical protocols, and subject matter experts. Acute and rehabilitation care provided by integrated facilities were described separately, resulting in data from 15 acute and 14 rehabilitation facilities. The number of admissions for tSCI over a 12-month period between 2009-2011 ranged from 17 to 104 (median 39), and 11 to 96 (median 32), for acute and rehabilitation facilities, respectively. Grouping of patients was reported by 8/15 acute and 10/14 rehabilitation facilities. Criteria for admission to the inpatient rehabilitation facilities varied among facilities (25 different criteria reported). Results from the survey revealed similarities in the basic structure and the provision of general services, but also some differences in the degree of specialization of care for persons with tSCI. Continued work on the impact of specialized care for both the patient and healthcare system is needed.
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