Community integration programs and interventions for people with spinal cord injury: a scoping review

Linda Barclay, Lauren Robins, Christine Migliorini, Aislinn Lalor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


Aim: The focus of this scoping review was to identify the extent, range, and nature of studies that have been published regarding community integration programs and interventions that support people during the transition home from hospital following spinal cord injury. Methods: Four electronic databases and one search engine were searched for articles published between 2010 and 2020. Grey literature and manual searches were also done. Results: Of the 16 articles included, 8 were published in peer-reviewed journals. Two of these did not include an evaluation. Study designs included but were not limited to pilot studies (n = 2); mixed methods evaluations (n = 2); single-site randomized controlled trials (n = 3); and, non-randomized single-arm study design (n = 1). The articles were from the United States (n = 12), Canada (n = 2), Australia (n = 1), and the United Kingdom (n = 1). Conclusion: The majority of interventions focused on addressing health-related educational needs, followed by community mobility. Goal setting and promoting self-efficacy were identified as important components, and the importance of involvement of people with lived experience was also highlighted. There was a lack of focus on management of relationships, including addressing sexuality needs. This review highlights the need for further empirical evaluation of implemented programs and interventions in this area, particularly in countries other than the USA, to inform service development.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Successful community integration is an important outcome of spinal cord injuries rehabilitation. The majority of published programs focus on health-related educational needs, followed by community mobility. It is recommended that goal setting and promoting self-efficacy are included in programs. It is recommended that people with lived experience of spinal cord injuries are involved in interventions. It is recommended that programs include a focus on management of relationships, including addressing sexuality needs.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 May 2020


  • community integration
  • health services
  • literature review
  • rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injuries

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