Physical activity after spinal cord injury: exploring experiences in the Cape Town metropolitan area
MetadataShow full item record
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is an acquired injury, by which damage to the spinal cord causes complete or partial neurological impairment. The major causes of premature death after a spinal cord injury have been documented as septicaemia, urinary tract infections and respiratory disorders. However since the development of modern, comprehensive, medical care, persons with spinal cord injuries generally live longer and thus age with their disability. Several researchers have reported on physical activity and people with SCI and the benefits of it. The overall aim of this study is to explore and describe the experiences of community dwelling survivors of spinal cord injuries regarding their involvement in physical activity or exercise in their respective communities. This was a descriptive and exploratory study that utilised a qualitative approach. Participants for this study were mainly recruited from a registry kept by a not-for-profit organization rendering services and support to survivors of spinal cord injuries in the Cape Metropolitan area. Furthermore, the use of the photo-voice technique was deemed appropriate for this study as this would allow the participants to depict their experiences of physical activity/exercises in their respective communities by means of photographs. Five themes were generated from the thematic analysis: Knowledge of the benefits of physical activity or exercise; getting to and from facilities for physical activity or exercise; availability of facilities; influence of weather and future plans regarding involvement in physical activity. The findings of this study was that most of the participants were aware of the importance of physical activity and the majority was involved in some or other form of physical activity or exercise. A number of factors influenced the participants approach towards physical activity, mostly external barriers and facilitators, which was highlighted by emerging themes. Permission and ethics clearance was obtained from Senate Higher Degree and Research Committee of the University of the Quad-Para Association of South Africa. Participation in this study was voluntary and confidentiality and anonymity was assured. Participants were also assured of their right to participate, decline or withdraw at any time without any implications. In case of any complaint, the participant will be referred for appropriate intervention. An informed written consent was completed by every participant who agreed to take part in the study. All participants were treated with dignity and respect and feedback will be given to all relevant bodies.