Man being guided by trainer during rehabilitation.

What is the study about?

This study aims to examine links between SCIRehab patients and injury characteristics, inpatient rehabilitation treatment, and outcomes at 5-years post-injury. The SCIRehab project was designed to examine what treatments lead to the best outcomes for people with SCI. Outcomes included measures of physical independence, societal participation, life satisfaction, depressive symptoms, place of residence, school/work attendance, rehospitalization, and presence of pressure ulcers. The researchers hypothesized that the relationships between the number of treatments and outcomes found at 1-year post-injury would be maintained at 5-years post-injury.

What did the study find?

This study found that patient characteristics were strong predictors of outcomes 5-years post-injury. These patient characteristics included injury group, admission motor FIM scores (which measures motor skill independence), days from injury to rehabilitation, age at injury, marital status, education, and hours spent in therapeutic recreation. In particular, access to clinicians with experienced clinicians appears to be an important factor to consider in SCI rehabilitation.

Who participated in the study?

Participants included 792 SCIRehab participants from five inpatient SCI rehabilitation centers in the U.S. who were 12 years old or older, gave informed consent, and completed a 1-year and 5-year post-injury interview.

How was the study conducted?

This was an observational study where clinicians documented treatment details at 1-year post-injury and 5years post-injury.

How can people use the results?

Individuals with SCI and their families can use the results of this study to better understand how inpatient SCI rehabilitation treatment outcomes can be affected by characteristics like education level or hours spent in therapeutic recreation. Practitioners can use these results to develop studies that look further into predictive factors from this study and how modifying them may improve long-term SCI outcomes.


Monden, K. R., Hidden, J., Eagye, C. B., Hammond, F. M., Kolakowsky-Hayner, S. A., & Whiteneck, G. G. (2021). Relationship of patient characteristics and inpatient rehabilitation services to 5-year outcomes following spinal cord injury: A follow up of the SCIRehab project. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine. []


The contents of this quick review were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90DPKT0009). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this quick review do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.