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How Do People Living with a Spinal Cord Injury Select a Bladder Management Method?

Principle investigator: B Welk (Western University)

Co Investigators: J Myers (University of Utah), M Kennelly (University of North Carolina)

Funded for $199,000 by the Craig H Neilsen Foundation


Bladder dysfunction requiring urinary catheter usage is a common occurrence after a spinal cord injury. This can have a significant effect on a person’s quality of life, and is associated with important potential medical complications. Over time, people with a spinal cord injury often change the way they manage their bladder. The reasons for this have not been well studied. This project will gather information from interviews and small groups to identify psychological and societal factors which influence how people with spinal cord injury choose a method of bladder management. These factors will then be tested in a group of 600 people living with a spinal cord injury from across North America using a statistical method of analysis that is commonly used by consumer market researchers. This will determine which factors are the most important, and how these factors vary in importance and relevance among people with a spinal cord injury as a whole, and within specific subgroups.

We will use this information to better understand how people with a spinal cord injury decide on a method of bladder management, and to identify psychosocial barriers related to different methods of bladder management that should be better addressed by healthcare team members. We hope this statistical data can be used to eventually create an online decision support tool which will be capable of providing people with a spinal cord injury with individualized recommendations and information. This has the potential to improve the bladder related quality of life among people living with a spinal cord injury.

Ways to participate: We looking forward to involving many of the participants of the NBRG forum in this research project. During the first year in-depth interviews will take place with a small number of people living with SCI, and in the second year, we will have a one time online module which people with SCI can complete to give their views.