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J Spinal Cord Med. 2012 Nov;35(6):527-46. doi: 10.1179/2045772312Y.0000000062.

Relationship of occupational therapy inpatient rehabilitation interventions and patient characteristics to outcomes following spinal cord injury: the SCIRehab project.

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Rush University, Chicago, IL, USA.



Describe associations of occupational therapy (OT) interventions delivered during inpatient spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation and patient characteristics with outcomes at the time of discharge and 1-year post-injury.


Occupational therapists at six inpatient rehabilitation centers documented detailed information about treatment provided. Least squares regression modeling was used to predict outcomes at discharge and 1-year injury anniversary for a 75% subset; models were validated with the remaining 25%. Functional outcomes for injury subgroups (motor complete low tetraplegia and motor complete paraplegia) also were examined.


OT treatment variables explain a small amount of variation in Functional Independence Measure (FIM) outcomes for the full sample and significantly more in two functionally homogeneous subgroups. For patients with motor complete paraplegia, more time spent in clothing management and hygiene related to toileting was a strong predictor of higher scores on the lower body items of the self-care component of the discharge motor FIM. Among patients with motor complete low tetraplegia, higher scores for the FIM lower body self-care items were associated with more time spent on lower body dressing, manual wheelchair mobility training, and bathing training. Active patient participation during OT treatment sessions also was predictive of FIM and other outcomes.


OT treatments add to explained variance (in addition to patient characteristics) for multiple outcomes. The impact of OT treatment on functional outcomes is more evident when examining more homogeneous patient groupings and outcomes specific to the groupings. Note: This is the third of nine articles in the SCIRehab series.

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