Racial and ethnic disparities in functioning at discharge and follow-up among patients with motor complete spinal cord injury
Objective: To examine racial and ethnic differences in self-care and mobility outcomes for persons with a motor complete traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) at discharge and 1-year follow-up.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Setting: 16 rehabilitation centers contributing to the Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SCIMS) Database.
Participants: 1,766 adults with traumatic, motor complete SCI (American Spinal Association Impairment Scale [AIS] grade A or B) enrolled in the SCIMS between 2000 - 2011. Selected cases had complete self-reported data on race and ethnicity (Non-Hispanic White [NHW], Non-Hispanic Black [NHB] or Hispanic) and motor Functional Independence Measure (FIM) scores assessed at inpatient rehabilitation admission, discharge and 1-year follow-up.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main Outcome Measures: Functional outcomes were measured by FIM self-care and mobility scores, on a 1 to 7 FIM scale, at discharge and 1-year follow-up.
Results: Multiple regression models stratified by neurologic category and adjusted for sociodemographic and injury characteristics, assessed racial and ethnic group differences in FIM self-care and mobility change scores at discharge and1-year follow-up. At discharge, NHB participants with tetraplegia and paraplegia had significantly poorer gains in FIM self-care and mobility scores relative to NHW and Hispanic participants. At 1-year follow-up, similar FIM self-care and mobility change scores were found across racial and ethnic groups, within each neurologic category.
Conclusions: NHW and Hispanic participants had comparatively more improvement in self-care and mobility during inpatient rehabilitation compared to NHB participants. At 1-year follow-up, no differences in self-care and mobility outcomes were observed across racial and ethnic groups. Additional research is needed to identify potential modifiable factors that may contribute to racially and ethnically different patterns of functional outcomes observed during inpatient rehabilitation.