The impact of living in a care home on the health and wellbeing of spinal cord injured people

Brett Smith, Nick Caddick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
181 Downloads (Pure)


In the UK, 20% of people with spinal cord injury (SCI) are discharged from rehabilitation into an elderly care home. Despite this, and knowledge that the home is central to health and wellbeing, little research has examined the impact of being in care homes on the health and wellbeing of people with SCI. The purpose of this study was to address this gap. Twenty adults who lived in care homes or had done so recently for over two years were interviewed in-depth. Qualitative data were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Analyses revealed that living in a care home environment severely damages quality of life, physical health and psychological wellbeing in the short and long-term. Reasons why quality of life, health, and wellbeing were damaged are identified. These included a lack of freedom, control, and flexibility, inability to participate in community life, inability to sustain relationships, safety problems, restricted participation in work and leisure time physical activity, lack of meaning, self-expression, and a future, loneliness, difficulties with the re-housing process, depression, and suicidal thoughts and actions. It is concluded that for people with SCI, the care home environment violates social dignity, is oppressive, and denies human rights. Implications for housing and health care policies are also offered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4185-4202
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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