Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-21-2018


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Occupational Therapy


Rangos School of Health Sciences

Committee Chair

Richard Simpson

Committee Member

Jaime Munoz


occupational therapy, education, illness management, spinal cord injury, secondary complications, pressure sore, respiratory complications, genitourinary complications, knowledge acquisition, rehabilitation


The Know More, Live Better program was developed because the population of people with Spinal Cord Injuries (SCI) includes a substantial number of young people, who often readmit into hospitals for preventable causes such as pressure ulcers, respiratory infections, and bowel/bladder infections. These complications can be avoided through patient education. A needs assessment was conducted at the SCI unit at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital in Allentown, PA. This assessment included structured observation of patient education in the therapy process, semi-structured interviews about site needs and patient education topics completed with patients and occupational therapists on staff, and surveys of multi-disciplinary healthcare professionals and patients regarding the most needed and beneficial patient education topics. The results of this needs assessment indicated that although patient education on a variety of topics was occurring throughout the therapy process, there was no established protocol to assess clients’ knowledge and application of concepts.

This project implemented an education protocol in an inpatient SCI unit to assess patient increase in knowledge of techniques that can reduce readmission. The Know More, Live Better program included a pretest on course information upon admission to the unit, an hour long, individualized patient education course, and a post-test to assess knowledge acquisition from the course. The program was implemented with 15 patients with SCI and produced significant results in patient knowledge acquisition of preventative techniques for avoiding secondary complications (p = .000). No demographic factors had a significant impact on the results, although the factor of income was near statistical significance (p = .052). Caregivers who participated in the program displayed a mean score of 94.7% (5.67/6) on knowledge test scores, but did not produce statistically significant results due to unexpectedly small number of participants. This program is significant to occupational therapy practice because it demonstrated that a short, rigorously designed patient education program can produce a significant increase in patient knowledge acquisition regarding the most prevalent issues of illness management that lead to readmission.