Study design: Systematic Review.
Objectives: To investigate the effect of interventions enhancing (re) employment following spinal cord injury (SCI).
Setting: Studies from multiple countries were included.
Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), CINAHL, PsycINFO and SPORTDISCUS databases were searched. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-randomized studies (NRSs) describing a hospital- or a community-based intervention aiming at employment in a SCI population were selected. Quality appraisal was done using the SIGN methodology, and the quality of evidence was graded using the Grade approach. Data extraction was performed according to the Cochrane Handbook. Employment rate and duration were primary outcomes.
Results: Only one RCT, including 201 patients describing an intervention over 1 and 2 years, was of sufficient quality. In this study, the employment rate was 26% after 1 and 31% after 2 years for competitive work, compared with 10% in the treatment as usual-intervention site (TAU-IS) control group and 2% in the treatment as usual observational site (TAU-OS) after 1 and 2 years. Other studies were of low quality and describe higher employment rates from 36 to 100%.
Conclusions: Only one RCT was of sufficient quality and showed evidence that a vocational rehabilitation programme based on the principles of supported employment integrated in a multidisciplinary team enhances employment for SCI people. As the vast majority of studies included in this review are of low methodological quality, further research is needed.
- SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT