Looking for research to support RT for individuals with SCI?

The SCIRehab Project gathered information from 1032 individuals with SCI across 6 rehabilitation centers and found that (Backus et al, 2013):

  1. Increased time spent on community outings led by an RT resulted in higher social integration and mobility scores, less re-hospitalization at the one-year mark post injury, decreased pressure ulcers, increased prediction of sports involvement and outdoor activities one year post discharge, and higher Functional Independence Measure (FIM) motor scores at discharge.
  2. Increased RT during IP rehabilitation was positively associated with higher social integration scores.
  3. More time in IP RT and receipt of post-discharge peer support and vocational services were associated with a greater likelihood of school enrollment or employment at one-year post injury.
  4. More RT post discharge was associated with higher satisfaction with life. Of special note, only one-third of the study participants received post-discharge RT, compared to 87.3% who received PT and 68.5% who received OT, “yet neither inpatient or post discharge PT or OT were associated with positive outcomes in social integration or satisfaction with life. The potential benefits of both inpatient and post discharge [recreational therapy] services should be studied further to determine which aspect of [recreational therapy] services provides positive benefits, how receipt of services may be expanded, and what the cost benefit is associated with these services. Dissemination of these findings must also include payer groups, and therefore if there are positive benefits to be gained from [recreational therapy] services, there might also be reimbursement for these services. Few centers provide post discharge [recreational therapy] services, and more centers might be inclined to do so if the provision of these services will not only lead to improved outcomes for people with SCI, but are also reimbursable services that profit their programs” (p. S172).


Backus, D., Gassaway, J., Smout, R. J., Hsieh, C., Heinemann, A. W., DeJong, G. & Horn, S. D. (2013). Relation between inpatient and postdischarge services and outcomes 1 year postinjury in people with traumatic spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 94(4 Suppl 2), S165-74.

For the full article, go to: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003999313000488

Leave a Reply