To describe participation in activities and explore the relationship with secondary complications among persons aging with a traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI).
A regional SCI outpatient center in Sweden.
Data were collected through a phone survey, which included 10 activities from the instrument PARTS/M-v3 (PARTicipation Survey/Mobility version-3) together with data from the participants' medical records. Cross-tabulation and ?(2) were used for data analysis.
In this study, 121 persons matched the inclusion criteria and the final study sample comprised 73 participants (60% response rate): 55 men and 18 women. Mean age was 63.7±9.4 years, and mean time since injury was 36.3±9.2 years. Regardless of duration of SCI, all 73 participated in dressing, bathing and leisure activities. Women reported better health than men. Particularly for those who lived 36-55 years after injury; increasing pain, fatigue, spasticity and decreased muscle strength were negatively affecting participation in activities, especially exercise and active recreation. Additionally, a need to save strength/energy was also a reason for not participating in the activities. Perceived future support and concerns in relation to personal assistance, assistive devices and rehabilitation was also reported.
Increasing secondary health complications and a need to save strength/energy influenced participation in activities. Laws and/or governmental policies regarding personal assistance and assistive devices did not always support participation in activities. Interventions should aim to create a balance among activities in everyday life.