Citation Dickson A, Ward R, O'Brien G, Allan D & O'Carroll R (2011) Difficulties adjusting to post-discharge life following a spinal cord injury: An interpretative phenomenological analysis. Psychology, Health and Medicine, 16 (4), pp. 463-474. https://doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2011.555769
Abstract Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with 17 individuals who had experienced a traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), focusing on the participants' lived experience of SCI. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and were analysed for recurrent themes using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Here, we present three inter-related recurrent themes all concerning difficulties in adjusting to home life following hospital discharge: "loss of camaraderie", "lack of post-discharge care" and "other people's reactions to spinal cord injury". Participants reported that the camaraderie they formed with fellow patients during their rehabilitative stay in hospital generated feelings of security and community. This was discussed in stark contrast to the isolation and loneliness that they subsequently experienced post-hospital discharge. A perceived lack of physical, practical and psychological support coupled with negative and stigmatising reactions of the wider community served to make adjustment to home life post-SCI particularly difficult for the participants. The findings are discussed in relation to extant SCI literature, and recommendations for future health care of individuals with SCI are made.