Year, Volume, Issue, Page(s):06, 44, 9, 567-575
STUDY DESIGN: Direct observation of a constrained consensus-building process in three culturally independent five-person panels of rehabilitation professionals from the US, Italy and Canada. OBJECTIVES: To illustrate cultural differences in belief among rehabilitation professionals about the relative importance of alternative functional goals during spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation. SETTING: Spinal Cord Injury Units in Philadelphia-USA, Rome-Italy and Vancouver-Canada. METHODS: Each of the three panels came to independent consensus about recovery priorities in SCI utilizing the features resource trade-off game. The procedure involves trading imagined levels of independence (resources) across different functional items (features) assuming different stages of recovery. RESULTS: Sphincter management was of primary importance to all three groups. The Italian and Canadian rehabilitation professionals, however, showed preference for walking over wheelchair mobility at lower stages of assumed recovery, whereas the US professionals set wheelchair independence at a higher priority than walking. CONCLUSIONS: These preliminary results suggest cross-cultural recovery priority differences among SCI rehabilitation professionals. These dissimilarities in preference may reflect disparities in values, cultural expectations and health care policies.