Prospective cohort study with a repeated measures analysis.
To measure the effects of the Active Rehabilitation (AR) training programme for community-dwelling individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) in Botswana on physical independence, wheelchair mobility, self-efficacy, life satisfaction, level of physical activity and community participation.
The inaugural AR training programme in Botswana, a community peer-based programme for people with SCI. The 10-day residential programme in Botswana was led by an international team of peer mentors and health professionals.
Participants with SCI (on average 4 years after injury) completed a survey comprising a battery of standardised outcome measures at three timepoints: at the start, on completion and at 5 months after the programme (n = 14). Participants also completed a practical wheelchair skills test at start and completion of the programme (n = 17).
Participants improved in the mobility subscale of the Spinal Cord Independence Measure Self Report on completion (p = 0.011, d = 0.85) and at 5-month follow-up (p = 0.005, d = 0.93) as compared to baseline. They also achieved moderate improvement in self-efficacy to manage their condition (physical function domain of Moorong Self-Efficacy Scale) and large improvements in wheelchair mobility as assessed through the Queensland Evaluation of Wheelchair Skills test and the Wheelchair Skills Test Questionnaire. All positive results were retained at 5-month follow-up.
Findings indicate that the peer-based programme AR can play an important role in promoting physical independence, wheelchair mobility and injury-management self-efficacy in community-dwelling individuals with SCI in Botswana.
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We thank all participants, peer mentors and non-disabled members of the team for their involvement in the study. We also thank Inka Lõfvenmark for providing feedback on the manuscript.