Strategies for autonomy used by people with cervical spinal cord injury: A qualitative study

Leontine Van De Ven*, Marcel Post, Luc De Witte, Wim Van Den Heuvel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
336 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose. To identify strategies used by people with high cervical spinal cord injury (SCI) to function autonomously. A multidimensional concept of autonomy was used, with four dimensions: independence, self-determination, participation and identification.

Methods. Qualitative methods were used, involving literature study and semi-structured interviews with eight individuals with high SCI who had been discharged from the rehabilitation centre for several years and were members of a sports club.

Results. Strategies for independence included making independent functioning a personal challenge and learning from others with SCI. Strategies for self-determination included keeping oneself informed, setting personal goals and being assertive. Strategies for participation were making challenges out of barriers, planning and organizing, asking and accepting help, and dealing with reactions from others. Strategies for identification involved taking life as it comes and focussing on positive aspects of life.

Conclusions. Different strategies are necessary for different dimensions of autonomy. Some strategies seem contradictory in terms of their effects on different dimensions of autonomy. Patients can be made aware of strategies for autonomy during the rehabilitation phase.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-260
Number of pages12
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • cervical spinal cord injury
  • strategies for autonomy
  • rehabilitation
  • STROKE PATIENTS
  • NURSING-HOMES
  • REHABILITATION
  • EXPERIENCE
  • PARTICIPATION
  • DISABILITIES
  • INDIVIDUALS
  • NEEDS
  • CARE

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