Few Canadians hospitalized with a spinal cord injury go back to work shortly after rehabilitation

Spinal cord injury patients have among the longest stays in inpatient rehabilitation

July 11, 2006 – New analysis released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) paints a picture of what life is like during and after inpatient rehabilitation following a traumatic spinal cord injury. Between 2000 and 2004, Canadians admitted to inpatient rehabilitation with a traumatic spinal cord injury stayed an average of 59 days, compared to 35 and 14 days for stroke and orthopaedic rehabilitation patients, respectively. Clients with complete quadriplegia stayed the longest, 101 days, compared to 49 days for patients with partial paraplegia.

The analysis also shows that traumatic spinal cord injury patients, on average, experienced functional improvement during their stay. Almost 80% of spinal cord injury patients receiving inpatient rehabilitation returned to a private residence or apartment following their discharge. Three to six months following their return, 14% of these patients were employed, whereas the majority of them remained unemployed (25%) or on disability (36%).

The analysis also includes the following highlights:

  • In 2003–2004, more than 950 traumatic spinal cord injuries occurred in Canada.
  • The majority (80%) of spinal cord injury rehabilitation patients were male.
  • Of all spinal cord injury rehabilitation patients, 67% were aged 50 or under.
  • Fewer than 10% of patients in the paraplegia and incomplete quadriplegia groups were discharged to a long-term care or acute-care facility. The complete quadriplegia group had the highest proportion of clients discharged to acute care (15%) and to long-term care (18%) in 2003–2004.

Life After Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: From Inpatient Rehabilitation Back to the Community is based primarily on 1,257 inpatient episodes from the National Rehabilitation Reporting System and is available on the CIHI website, at www.cihi.ca.

About CIHI

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) collects and analyzes information on health and health care in Canada and makes it publicly available. Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments created CIHI as a not-for-profit, independent organization dedicated to forging a common approach to Canadian health information. CIHI’s goal: to provide timely, accurate and comparable information. CIHI’s data and reports inform health policies, support the effective delivery of health services and raise awareness among Canadians of the factors that contribute to good health. www.cihi.ca

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Information about: Life After Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: From Inpatient Rehabilitation Back to the Community