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Models of Care Delivery from Rehabilitation to Community for Spinal Cord Injury: A Scoping Review

Chester Ho, Kayla Atchison, Vanessa K. Noonan, Nicole McKenzie, Lauren Cadel, Heather Ganshorn, Joanna Marie B. Rivera, Charlene Yousefi, and Sara J.T. Guilcher

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Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a chronic condition that results in high healthcare utilization and lifetime cost across the care continuum. In the absence of a standardized model of care delivery for SCI in western countries such as Canada, a scoping review of the literature was performed to identify and summarize existing international SCI models of care delivery. Four databases were searched using key words and subject headings for concepts such as: “spinal cord injury,” “delivery of healthcare,” “model of care,” “patient care planning,” and “care pathway.” Title, abstract, and full text review were competed by two independent reviewers. A combined total of 46 peer-reviewed and gray literature articles were included. No single SCI model of care has been adopted across different countries internationally. However, optimal attributes of models of care were identified, including the importance of having multidisciplinary SCI specialty care providers along the continuum, provision of rural SCI services and outreach, integration of primary care, peer mentoring, and using a hub and spokes model of care. These findings inform the future development of an SCI model of care, which ideally would serve all geographical locations and span the continuum of care, improving the health status and quality of life of persons with SCI.


University of Calgary W21C, Praxis Spinal Cord Institute, and Dana Hunter, clinical research assistant, University of Calgary.

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