SCI RESEARCH TEAM NEWSLETTER www.sciresearchteam.musc.edu Research Highlight Association of race, education, income, and health care access with pressure ulcers: Trying to prevent one of the most harmful secondary health conditions for those with SCI Special points of interest: Briefly highlight your point of interest here. Briefly highlight your point of interest here. Briefly highlight your point of interest here. Briefly highlight your point of interest here. What’s the largest organ in the human body? It is actually not just “in” the body; it also wraps around it. It’s the skin, and it can be delicate. So it makes sense that pressure ulcers—lesions that cause the skin to break down—are one of the most common problems affecting those with SCI. The good news is they may be preventable if we know the factors that lead to pressure ulcers. The Longevity after Injury Project completed a study to help better understand these factors. We looked at how race, income, education, and health care access relate to the occurrence of pressure ulcers. We measured health care access by asking participants about health insurance, personal doctors, and cost of doctors’ visits. Below are our study results: 20% of participants had a current pressure ulcer; 39% reported having one at some point in the 12 months before the study; 22% reported they had surgery for a pressure ulcer since being injured. (See Figure 1) When we accounted for income, education, and healthcare access, the rate of pressure ulcers did not differ between people from different races. However, this may be due to differences in household income related to race. Household income did influence the chance of having a pressure ulcer, and household income is related to race. This suggests that improving household income may reduce how likely it is that people will be to get pressure ulcers. No significant relationship was found between health care access and pressure ulcers. We need to learn more about this and look at other types of healthcare factors. Inside this issue: Page The Longevity after Injury Project 2 Consumer Advisory Panel 2 A Conversation 3 with Alex Jackson CHORCUP Study 4 Updates Race, Ethnicity Conference & DRC In-Service 5 RRTC Study Updates 6 RRTC Grand Rounds 7 Team News 7 An important finding from this study is that household income plays a role in how likely it is that people will have pressure ulcers. Although we must be careful about interpreting results from a single study, we hope this finding could lead to future policy changes that increase economic opportunities for people with SCI. If so, this may lead to greater prevention of pressure ulcers and, in turn, higher life quality, particularly among those who currently have low household income. We will continue to study different types of access to healthcare that may relate to the likelihood of pressure ulcers. Reference: Saunders LL, Krause JS, Acuna J. Association of race, socioeconomic status, and health care access with pressure ulcers after spinal cord injury. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2012.