Perspective on employment rates after spinal cord injury - 30 years after the ADA

September 22, 2020

East Hanover, NJ. September 22, 2020. A team of experts in disability employment summarized advances in outcomes being achieved in individuals recovering from spinal cord injury. Their article, "30 Years after the Americans with Disabilities Act: Perspectives on employment for persons with spinal cord injury," (DOI: 10.1016/j.pmr.2020.04.007), was published online on June 7, 2020 in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America.

Authored by Lisa Ottomanelli, PhD, Lance Goetz, PhD, John O'Neill, PhD, Eric Lauer, MPH, PhD, and Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD, the article frames challenges and opportunities for individuals with spinal cord injury in the workplace, as the nation marks three decades influenced by the protections ensured by the ADA.

Link to abstract: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32624107/

Thirty years after the passage of the ADA, planning for return to work is often a low priority during rehabilitation for spinal cord injury, and employment rates remain low for this population. The authors report their analysis based on the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, comparing the characteristics of working age people with spinal cord injury/dysfunction, and their experiences with employment and health care, with those of the overall working age population. Despite the positive impact of employment on many domains, workers with SCI/D experience significantly more issues related to health and medical care, according to John O'Neill, PhD, director of the Center for Employment and Disability Research at Kessler Foundation.

New models for vocational rehabilitation that address these issues are returning more people to the workplace after spinal cord injury. "Compared with traditional vocational rehabilitation, the comprehensive services offered through individual placement and support (IPS) are helping more people achieve competitive employment," said Dr. O'Neill. "Integrating vocational services into spinal cord injury rehabilitation enlists the talents of the treatment team in the fulfillment of the individual's employment goals."

Another promising approach is vocational resource facilitation (VRF), an early intervention model implemented at Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation with funding from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation. A dedicated vocational resource facilitator works with the treatment team to support newly injured individuals with their plans to return to work, coordinates services, and provides follow up after discharge. Since this publication, the employment rate at one year after discharge for traumatic spinal cord injury has increased from 34% to 43%, significantly exceeding national one-year post injury benchmarks ranging from 12% to 21%."

The authors emphasize that vocational rehabilitation services, when delivered soon after injury and integrated into the medical rehabilitation plan, contribute to better employment outcomes. "Implementing evidence-based practices during rehabilitation is an important step toward fulfilling the promises of the ADA for people with spinal cord injury," Dr. O'Neill concluded.
-end-
Funding: National Institute on Disability Independent Living Disability and Rehabilitation Research - RRTC-EPM (90RT5037-02-00)

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities.

Stay Connected


Twitter | http://Twitter.com/KesslerFdn

Facebook | http://Facebook.com/KesslerFoundation

YouTube | http://Youtube.com/user/KesslerFoundation

Instagram | http://Instagram.com/kesslerfdn

iTunes & SoundCloud | http://Soundcloud.com/kesslerfoundation

For more information, or to interview an expert, contact:

Carolann Murphy, 973.324.8382, CMurphy@KesslerFoundation.org.

Kessler Foundation

Related Spinal Cord Injury Articles from Brightsurf:

Stem cells can help repair spinal cord after injury
Spinal cord injury often leads to permanent functional impairment. In a new study published in the journal Science researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden show that it is possible to stimulate stem cells in the mouse spinal cord to form large amounts of new oligodendrocytes, cells that are essential to the ability of neurons to transmit signals, and thus to help repair the spinal cord after injury.

Spinal cord injury increases risk for mental health disorders
A new study finds adults with traumatic spinal cord injury are at an increased risk of developing mental health disorders and secondary chronic diseases compared to adults without the condition.

Co-delivery of IL-10 and NT-3 to enhance spinal cord injury repair
Spinal cord injury (SCI) creates a complex microenvironment that is not conducive to repair; growth factors are in short supply, whereas factors that inhibit regeneration are plentiful.

IU scientists study link between energy levels, spinal cord injury
A team of researchers from Indiana University School of Medicine, in collaboration with the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, have investigated how boosting energy levels within damaged nerve fibers or axons may represent a novel therapeutic direction for axonal regeneration and functional recovery.

UBCO professor simplifies exercise advice for spinal cord injury
Professor Kathleen Martin Ginis says a major barrier to physical activity for people with a spinal cord injury is a lack of knowledge or resources about the amount and type of activity needed to achieve health and fitness benefits.

Robotic trunk support assists those with spinal cord injury
A Columbia Engineering team has invented a robotic device -- the Trunk-Support Trainer (TruST) -- that can be used to assist and train people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) to sit more stably by improving their trunk control, and thus gain an expanded active sitting workspace without falling over or using their hands to balance.

Does frailty affect outcomes after traumatic spinal cord injury?
A new study has shown that frailty is an important predictor of worse outcome after traumatic spinal cord injury in patients less than 75 years of age.

Sleep and sleepiness 'a huge problem' for people with spinal cord injury
A new study led by a University of Calgary researcher at the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) finds that fatigue and sleep may need more attention in order to prevent issues like stroke after spinal cord injury.

From spinal cord injury to recovery
Spinal cord injury disconnects communication between the brain and the spinal cord, disrupting control over part of the body.

Transplanting adult spinal cord tissues: A new strategy of repair spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injury repair is one of the most challenging medical problems, and no effective therapeutic methods has been developed.

Read More: Spinal Cord Injury News and Spinal Cord Injury Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.