Individual Placement and Support in Spinal Cord Injury: A Longitudinal Observational Study of Employment Outcomes

Lisa Ottomanelli, Lance L. Goetz, Scott D. Barnett, Eni Njoh, Thomas M. Dixon, Sally Ann Holmes, James P. LePage, Doug Ota, Sunil Sabharwal, Kevin T. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the effects of a 24-month program of Individual Placement and Support (IPS) supported employment (SE) on employment outcomes for veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI). Design: Longitudinal, observational multisite study of a single-arm, nonrandomized cohort. Setting: SCI centers in the Veterans Health Administration (n=7). Participants: Veterans with SCI (N=213) enrolled during an episode of either inpatient hospital care (24.4%) or outpatient care (75.6%). More than half the sample (59.2%) had a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Intervention: IPS SE for 24 months. Main Outcome Measure: Competitive employment. Results: Over the 24-month period, 92 of 213 IPS participants obtained competitive jobs for an overall employment rate of 43.2%. For the subsample of participants without TBI enrolled as outpatients (n=69), 36 obtained competitive jobs for an overall employment rate of 52.2%. Overall, employed participants averaged 38.2±29.7 weeks of employment, with an average time to first employment of 348.3±220.0 days. Nearly 25% of first jobs occurred within 4 to 6 months of beginning the program. Similar employment characteristics were observed in the subsample without TBI history enrolled as outpatients. Conclusions: Almost half of the veterans with SCI participating in the 24-month IPS program as part of their ongoing SCI care achieved competitive employment, consistent with their expressed preferences at the start of the study. Among a subsample of veterans without TBI history enrolled as outpatients, employment rates were >50%. Time to first employment was highly variable, but quite long in many instances. These findings support offering continued IPS services as part of ongoing SCI care to achieve positive employment outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017



  • Employment, supported
  • Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation, vocational
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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