Societal services after traumatic spinal cord injury in Sweden were investigated, including self-rated levels of satisfaction with the application process and resource allocation.
Survey of an incidence population.
Thirty-four persons of a total regional incidence population (n = 48) with traumatic spinal cord injury.
Structured interviews using a standardized questionnaire.
About 25 separate services were identified being available for persons with traumatic spinal cord injury. The average number of applications per person was 5 (range 0-11). The most common service was "transportation service". Of the applications, 17% were partially or totally rejected. Most subjects received information about available services from a social worker. For 13 available services at least 1 subject claimed ignorance about its existence.
In Sweden, significant resources are allocated for allowing independence and financial compensation for individuals with traumatic spinal cord injury. However, this support system sometimes also results in frustration and disappointment. Insufficient information and co-ordination are reported as weaknesses. The persons' efforts to acquire knowledge of how the system works take time which could be better used for rehabilitation and full integration into the community.