In the United States, injuries are particularly devastating for black men. This disparity is striking considering that injury is one the top ten causes for death. Data shows that Black men in disadvantaged areas are more likely to sustain injuries, have a shorter life expectancy, and experience psychological symptoms that can persist even after treatment has been completed.
Research has focused largely on individual characteristics that predict poor healing from injuries, but less has been done on the effects of environment and social factors on injury survivors.
A new study by Penn Nursing, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, examines how injured Black men perceive their injury recovery environment. This includes how unsafe they feel and what resources are available to them. The findings highlight the importance and role of the community in injury recovery and the importance and allocation of resources for injury survivors. The study suggests that there are changes that can be made to better support patients who have suffered serious injuries in the contexts of neighborhood-level adversity.
“Our findings raise important questions about the inpatient and discharge experiences for injury survivors. Survivors identified significant barriers to recovery and stressed the importance of their social networks and limited resources. Marta Bruce (RN, Penn Nursing), the lead author of the article, said that the participants had expressed a deep human need to hear and be treated with respect.
“This research shows the importance of intervention at the critical time of the inpatient experience before discharge for increased empathy, better coordination social work and mental services, and better planning to address the discharge challenges raised by our participants,” said Therese S.Richard, PhD, RN. She is also the Associate Dean for Research & Innovation at Penn Nursing and Professor of Nursing. “Clinicians should remember that an injury can cause trauma in survivors’ lives and that recovery can be affected by environmental and social factors beyond the hospital walls.
The study’s results were published in an article entitled “Injured Black Men’s Perceptions on the Recovery Environment,” Social Science & MedicineIt is also available online. Connie M. Ulrich (RN, FAAN), Lillian S. Brunner Chair for Medical and Surgical Nursing and Professor of Nursing; and Jessica Webster (MS, LPC), both of Penn Nursing are coauthors.
The National Institute of Nursing Research of National Institutes of Health supported the study under Award Number R01NR013503 PI: Richmond, the Office of Nursing Research (ONR), University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the Hillman Scholars in Nursing Innovation.