Over time, there has been increasing interest and recognition in SCI-related education during rehabilitation. Patient education aims to help patients reintegrate into the community and improve quality of life through instruction on a variety of topics (Bernet et al., 2018; van Wyk et al., 2015). Educational topics that are often addressed include: learning how to self advocate, how to prevent, recognize and respond to adverse health complications, as well as coping strategies (Bernet et al., 2018). As a result, patients learn how to manage their everyday life, take responsibility for their health and assume an active role in the treatment process (van Wyk et al., 2015). Consequently, patients may feel more motivated and confident in their abilities to deal with the physical and psychological consequences of a SCI (van Wyk et al., 2015).
The efficacy of patient education in other chronic diseases, such as diabetes or arthritis, has been well documented. Multiple systematic reviews reported that patient education improves disease specific knowledge (Barlow et al., 2002; Bennett et al., 2009; Shaw et al., 2009; Coster & Norman, 2009) and reduces symptoms (Deakin et al., 2005; Gibson et al., 2009; Riemsma et al., 2009; Warsi et al., 2004). However, a lack of research investigating the effects of patient education or educational strategies in individuals with SCI exists.
The majority of skills training and education literature found focused on upper limb function in wheelchair use. The methodological details and results from these studies are presented in Table 3.