Exploring factors facilitating adults with spinal cord injury rejoining the workforce: A pilot study

Academic Article


  • © 2014 Informa UK Ltd. Background: Return-to-work (RTW) rates after spinal cord injury (SCI) in the USA are very low and are continuing to decline. Previous research has attempted to identify factors facilitating RTW; however, the phenomenon of RTW involves many personal factors and predicting RTW success remains difficult. Purpose: The purpose of this pilot study was to explore the factors facilitating adults with SCI rejoining the workforce in an urban area in order to identify items that may be emphasized in the rehabilitation process. Methods: The study was completed using qualitative methods. Four adults who had acquired a traumatic SCI in adulthood and were currently employed participated. Their experiences in RTW after injury were collected via semi-structured interviews and photography of assistive devices. Results: The most common facilitating factor was motivation, with family and rehabilitation professionals serving as extrinsic motivators. Other facilitators were resources and perceived benefits. Conclusions: Motivation and resources were important facilitators, including rehabilitation professional's personal influence and therapies, and resource assistance from state agencies. The results indicate that practitioners can play an important role in influencing RTW, and resources from state agencies are helpful when individuals know how to access and utilize them.Implications for RehabilitationAssistive technology supports successful return to work after SCI.Motivation strongly influences return to work after SCI and can be influenced by rehabilitation professionals, family and community members.Patients should be well informed about how to access assistance programs such as vocational rehabilitation.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wilbanks SR; Ivankova NV
  • Start Page

  • 739
  • End Page

  • 749
  • Volume

  • 37
  • Issue

  • 9