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Evidence and utilisation of spinal cord injury services in NSW

This report looks at the evidence on ‘what works’ in the care of people with a spinal cord injury; particularly across acute care, rehabilitation care and community care.

It further explores the utilisation of care services in NSW and identifies the gaps in spinal cord injury care.

Why did we do this?

Experiencing a spinal cord injury is a life-changing event that can impact every aspect of the injured person’s life, and the lives of their family and friends.

A spinal cord injury also marks the start of an ongoing relationship between a patient and the healthcare system.

There is increasing demand for healthcare services in NSW for people with spinal cord injury.

In 2017-18, 344 people sustained a new serious spinal cord injury, and there were an estimated 5,500 people living with an existing spinal cord injury in NSW (690 per million population), based on hospital records from 2001-02 onwards.*

The profound, life-changing consequences associated with spinal cord injury can be addressed or compensated for with the right access to specialist support, services and equipment.

Comprehensive care across life stages requires ongoing access to highly specialised services, with an interdisciplinary approach to address medical, physical, functional, psychological, social, vocational and leisure issues.

What did we find?

This report highlights the need to redesign the way we deliver care to people with spinal cord injury in NSW to address current gaps, challenges and ensure equitable access to specialist care or specialist-guided care.

The potential to explore innovative models of care delivery, incorporating telehealth and specialist guided care, provides an opportunity to enhance system capacity.

For more information

* This is an underestimate of the total number of people living with an existing spinal cord injury in NSW. It does not include people who had a spinal cord injury prior to 2001-02 and no subsequent hospital episode from 2001-02 onwards with the spinal cord injury noted in the hospital record.

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