Original research| Volume 101, ISSUE 7, P1162-1169, July 2020

The Effect of Health Service Use, Unmet Need, and Service Obstacles on Quality of Life and Psychological Well-Being in the First Year After Discharge From Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation

Published:March 04, 2020DOI:



      This study examined the effects of health and rehabilitation service use, unmet need for services, and service obstacles on health-related quality of life (HR QoL) and psychological well-being after discharge from spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation.


      Prospective cohort study, with participants followed up at 6 and/or 12 months after discharge from SCI inpatient rehabilitation.


      Community setting.


      People with SCI (N=55; mean age 51y; 76.4% men; 61.8% traumatic injury; mean length of stay 137d).


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Service Usage Scale, Service Obstacles Scale, the EuroQol-5D, and the Depression Anxiety and Stress Scale short form. Eight predictors of outcome were considered: service use (ie, use of general practitioner, medical specialist, nursing, and allied health, and rehospitalization), unmet need, and service obstacles (ie, finances and transport). Possibly important predictors of each outcome were identified via penalized regression, and a final model was fit using Bayesian hierarchical regression with a Gaussian or zero-inflated Poisson response distribution.


      Financial obstacles were associated with a poorer HR QoL (β [95% credible interval]= −0.095 [−0.166 to −0.027]) and higher anxiety (odds ratio, OR [95% credible interval]=1.63 [1.16-2.23]). Rehospitalization was associated with a lower EuroQol visual analog scale (β= −11.2 [−19.7 to −2.5]) and, interestingly, lower anxiety (OR=1.63 [1.16-2.23]). Use of allied health was associated with higher anxiety (OR=2.48 [1.42-4.44]).


      The varying degrees of financial hardship experienced after injury with complex rehabilitation needs requires investigation, as does the interactive effects of service use, unmet need, and service obstacles on outcomes like QoL and psychological well-being.


      List of abbreviations:

      BF (Bayes factor), DASS-21 (Depression Anxiety Stress Scales 21-item short form), EQ-5D (EuroQol-5D), EQ-VAS (EuroQol visual analog scale), GP (general practitioner), HR QoL (health-related quality of life), Lasso (least absolute shrinkage and selection operator), LOS (length of stay), OR (odds ratio), SCI (spinal cord injury), SIU (Spinal Injuries Unit), ZIP (zero-inflated Poisson)
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