Traumatic spinal cord injury in Ireland: service planning for changing epidemiology

This project will examine several aspects of traumatic spinal cord injury in the Irish population. The project will look backwards (retrospective) and forwards (prospective). For the years 2010 - 2014 inclusive, the medical records of all patients with traumatic spinal cord injury discharged from the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) will be reviewed and information gathered on patient gender, age, cause of injury, type and severity of injury, length of hospital stay and discharge destination. During 2016, the same information will be collected as patients sustain injuries and are admitted to the NRH. A mini-study (pilot) has already been carried out to help in deciding which years to select for the retrospective part of the study. The 5 year period chosen from 2010 was selected because in that year the NRH achieved international accreditation; associated with this, there was a change in documentation in the hospital records which means that necessary data can easily be retrieved since that time.
Once the information is gathered, statistics will be carried out to estimate how frequently spinal cord injury occurs per head of population, average patient age when spinal cord injury occurs, gender most affected, most common causes, types and severity of spinal cord injury. Statistics will also be carried out to examine if there is an association between patient age or injury type/severity and the length of hospital stay and discharge destination. For the retrospective part of the study, results from the 2011 census will be used for statistical calculations. The prospective study coincides with a new census in 2016.
Results of the study will give us updated information on the spinal cord injury patient population, which we will then use to plan how we deliver rehabilitation services and to assist with discharge planning.

Award Date
23 October 2015
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Eimear Smith
Host Institution
National Rehabilitation Hospital
Health Research Awards