Volume 49 Number 2, 2012
Pages 265 — 278
Abstract–Individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) need options for negotiating architectural barriers, completing essential transfers, and accessing items on high shelves or in cupboards that cannot be reached from the wheelchair or safely managed with reachers. Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have developed an assistive technology device to assist individuals with SCI to stand and transfer. The 8-channel implanted CWRU-VA system enables persons with SCI to exercise, stand, and maneuver in the vicinity of their wheelchairs. Interventions that decrease barriers to mobility and participation can have a significant effect on an individual–s perceived quality of life (QOL). This study uses a qualitative research methodology comprised of a series of semi-structured interviews to determine the effects on perceived QOL of an implanted 8-channel functional electrical stimulation (FES) system for standing after SCI. The results reveal that individuals with SCI currently using an implanted FES standing system perceived significant improvements in QOL related to the neuroprosthesis. Implanted neuroprostheses for standing have the potential to improve QOL for veterans living with SCI.
Key words: Department of Veterans Affairs, functional electrical stimulation, mobility, neuroprosthesis, paralysis, qualitative, quality of life, rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, standing.
Last Reviewed or Updated Wednesday, April 4, 2012 12:27 PM