Assessing community reintegration in adolescents and young adults with spinal cord injury: A Delphi study
Rivera, Roy Jr.
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The ability for adolescents and young adults (YA) with spinal cord injury (SCI) to reintegrate into the community and become contributing members of society is constantly challenged by both internal and external factors. In acute, sub-acute, and rehabilitative settings, allied health professionals are instrumental in helping these adolescents and YA with SCI reintegrate into the community by providing those physical, emotional, and psychosocial skills necessary for success. The purpose of this study was for a panel of allied health professionals to arrive at a consensus regarding the most effective multidisciplinary approach for helping adolescents and YA with SCI reintegrate into the community. This study used the Delphi technique and was comprised of physical therapists (PT), occupational therapists (OT), and certified child life specialists (CCLS). The Delphi Panel was initially composed of 31 allied health professionals from various clinical practice settings across the United States; however, only 10 allied health professionals followed the study to completion. The Delphi study utilized three rounds of data collection. Round 1 gathered demographic data on participants and also contained three open-ended questions regarding defining community reintegration, identifying barriers to community reintegration, and the most effective treatment strategies for community reintegration in adolescents and YA with SCI. For Round 2, participants were asked to rate their collective opinions from Round 1 on a 7-point Likert scale. Round 3 was a consensus and ranking survey of the opinions provided in the open-ended questions from Round 1. Cain and Mittman's (2002) Diffusion of Innovation in Health Care theory with the ten critical dynamics was used to evaluate the findings. Successful completion of the Delphi study was defined as the group having reached at least 80% consensus with its self-generated ideas. In Round 2, the Delphi Panel reached 92% consensus, and in Round 3, this increased to 92.5% consensus. Findings indicated that the most effective multidisciplinary approach that an allied health professional can take to help adolescents and YA with SCI successfully reintegrate into the community is by providing education for caregivers and others about SCI.