Rebuilding Life: Investigating the Long-Term Homecare Needs of Clients With Spinal Cord Injuries

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Abstract

Background:

Clients with a spinal cord injury (SCI) must learn to manage their disabilities and may never be able to resume their previous lifestyle. Therefore, receiving relevant information and support from care practitioners and institutions is essential for clients with long-term SCI.

Purpose:

This study investigated the long-term homecare needs of clients with SCIs.

Methods:

A qualitative approach was used in this study. Data were collected from March to May 2013. Four SCI associations were selected using purposive sampling, and four focus group interviews were conducted in Northern, Central, Southern, and Eastern Taiwan. Each focus group was composed of 7–12 participants. In-depth interviews (1.5–2.5 hours) were conducted. A content analysis method was adopted for data analysis.

Results:

Thirty-eight participants took part in the study. The long-term care needs of clients with SCI require the following dynamic processes for rebuilding their lives: physical care and complication prevention, life planning, social support, discovery of the value of existence, and sexual satisfaction.

Conclusions/Implications for Practice:

The results reveal the long-term care needs of clients with SCI. Nurses are expected to provide client-centered care, emphasize prevention rather than treatment of complications, initiate life planning at the early stages of a client’s rehabilitation, enhance a client’s social support, encourage a client’s search for companionship and search for the value of existence and a life purpose, and be attentive to the sexual concerns of people with physical disabilities.

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