||Bloemen-Vrencken, J. H. A., de Witte, L. P., & Post, M. W. M. (2005). Follow-up care for persons with spinal cord injury living in the community: A systematic review of interventions and their evaluation. Spinal Cord, 43, 462-475. doi:10.1038/sj.sc.3101750
||Background: The need for continuing care for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) living in the community has been emphasized in several reports, yet healthcare workers do not always have sufficient opportunities to gain knowledge and experience about the specific care these patients need.
Objectives: To conduct a systematic review of studies that compare follow-up care programs, performed by rehabilitation centers, for persons with SCI and to describe the effects of these programs regarding the occurrence of secondary impairments, well being, and the quality and costs of care.
Search Strategy: The researchers identified publications by searching electronic databases: the MEDLINE (1972-2003) and CINAHL (1982-2003). Researchers combined search terms for spinal cord injuries (i.e. tetraplegia, paraplegia, spinal cord injuries) with a broad range of keywords related to follow-up care (i.e. follow-up care. patient discharge, out patient care, ambulatory-care-facilities, primary-health care, home care, home rehabilitation, community care, disease management, shared care.)
Selection Criteria: Publications were selected that described medical and/or nursing follow-up care to persons with SCI living in the community after their in-patient and outpatient rehabilitation. Publications were excluded that did not follow a scientific format.
Data Collection and Analysis: Three investigators selected publications by reading the titles and, if available, the abstracts of all the initially identified publications; publications selected by at least two investigators were studied by the first investigator in order to determine whether the inclusion criteria were applicable. Other investigators were consulted in cases of doubt. Studies were then classified using Polit and Hungler’s method.
Main Results: Twenty-four publications met inclusion criteria and were reviewed. The authors summarize and describe findings on methods for follow-up care for persons with SCI living in the community.
Conclusions: There is a need for the development, the publication and the well-designed evaluation of follow-up care programs for persons with SCI. Seemingly, follow-up care should be organized by specialized rehabilitation centers and efforts should be undertaken by centers to communicate expertise to primary care professionals in community settings.