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Perceptions of Practice Guidelines for People with Spinal Cord Injury

Powell-Cope, Gail PhD, ARNP, FAAN1; Moore, Helen D. PhD, BSW1; Weaver, Frances M. PhD2; Thomason, Susan MN, RN, ACNS-BC, CRRN, CWN3

Rehabilitation Nursing Journal: March 2015 - Volume 40 - Issue 2 - p 100–110
doi: 10.1002/rnj.134
Continuing Education

Purpose: The Consortium for Spinal Cord Medicine published clinical practice guidelines (CPG) related to upper limb (UL) preservation in people with spinal cord injury (SCI) in 2005. The purpose of this qualitative research was to identify stakeholder agreement with recommendations, performance gaps, and barriers and facilitators to CPG implementation.

Design: This 6-month study focused on the perspectives of healthcare providers, veterans, and key informants. The Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services (PARiHS) was used to frame the interview questions, analyze data from focus groups and interviews, and develop conclusions and recommendations.

Method: SCI Centers at the Tampa, Seattle, and Hines Veterans' hospitals participated.

The purposeful sample for the focus groups included 32 healthcare providers, 21 veterans with SCI, and 3 key informants. Analysis of qualitative data netted the percent of agreement with recommendations, performance gaps, and strategies for CPG implementation.

Findings: Content analysis of focus group data revealed that healthcare providers agreed or partially agreed with 20 (57%) of the 35 CSCM CPG on UL preservation of function. Agreement ranged from 100% for assessment to 28% for equipment use. Barriers for implementation related to administrative and system issues.

Conclusion: Consideration of gaps, barriers, and facilitators to implementation will assist clinicians to target interventions to preserve UL function.

1 Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research VISN 8, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Health Administration, Tampa, FL, USA

2 HSR&D Center of Innovation, Hines VA Hospital and Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University, Chicago, IL, USA

3 Tampa VA Research and Education Foundation, Tampa, FL, USA

Accepted September 15, 2013


Gail Powell-Cope, Tampa Co-Director, Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research VISN 8, Department of Veterans Affairs, 8900 Grand Oak Circle, Tampa, FL.


© 2015 Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.
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