Environment key to injury recovery for Black men

Black men are disproportionately impacted by injuries in the United States. This disparity is glaring given that injury is one of the top ten causes of death. Data show that injured Black men from disadvantaged neighborhoods experience higher injury mortality, years of life-expectancy loss, and psychological symptoms that persist after initial wounds have been treated.

Person walking with cane past a tall apartment building.

While much research has examined individual characteristics that predict poor recovery from injury, fewer studies have focused on social and physical features of the environment and how they may impact the recovery of injury survivors.

A new study from the School of Nursing focuses on injured Black men’s perceptions of their injury recovery environments, including how unsafe they feel and the varying availability of resources for recovery within their neighborhoods. The findings emphasize the importance of the neighborhood environment in recovery after injury and the role of social support and resource allocation to injury survivors in the aftermath. The study has implications for the need for changes that could better support patients dealing with the consequences of serious injuries within the context of neighborhood-level adversity.

“Our findings raise important considerations on the inpatient and discharge experiences of injury survivors,” says Marta Bruce of Penn Nursing and an intensive care nurse at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, lead author of the article. “Survivors expressed significant barriers to recovery, and the importance of their social networks but limited resources available to them. Our participants expressed a deep human need to be listened to and treated with respect.”

“This research points to the importance of intervention at the critical window of the inpatient experience prior to discharge for increased empathetic communication, better coordination of social work and mental health services, and better planning for the challenges of discharge raised by our participants,” says Therese S. Richmond, Andrea B. Laporte Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean for Research & Innovation at Penn Nursing, and co-author of the study.

Read more at Penn Nursing News.