Category: Spinal Cord Injury; Health Services Research
Objective : To explore the attitudes, beliefs and experiences of persons with spinal cord injury or dysfunction (SCI/D) pertaining to prescribed and unprescribed medications.
Design : A descriptive qualitative study.
Setting : Ontario, Canada.
Participants (or Animals, Specimens, Cadavers) : Participants were recruited through local organizations and purposeful snowball sampling. For inclusion, participants were required to meet the following criteria: adults (18+ years of age); at least one year post-SCI/D; residing in Ontario; English speaking and cognitively able to give consent. Nineteen in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted by telephone. Of the 19 participants, 11 were male and 8 were female, with an age range from 36 to 76 years (median= 57); 14 participants had traumatic SCI and 5 had non-traumatic spinal cord dysfunction.
Interventions : Not applicable.
Main Outcome Measure(s) : Not applicable.
Results : All but three participants were taking five or more medications, which included prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and natural health products. Despite most participants reporting that they were adequately able to manage their medications, they went through a complex process to integrate medication management strategies into their life. The three main themes identified were: disruptive nature of medications; fear of negative outcomes; and self-management: playing a critical role.
Conclusions : Medication management is complex and multifaceted. Based on the findings from this study, recommendations for future research, practice and policy have been suggested. By exploring these recommendations, we can identify approaches to optimize medication management, which can improve both quality of care and quality of life for persons with SCI/Dys.
Lauren Cadel– Student, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
Sander Hitzig– Scientist, St. John’s Rehab Research Program, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Tanya Packer– Professor, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Tejal Patel– Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo, Kitchener, Ontario
Aisha Lofters– Clinician Scientist, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario
Alison Thompson– Associate Professor, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario
Sara Guilcher– Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario