Spinal cord injury services
After a spinal cord injury, you may experience a wide range of symptoms—from weakness and loss of muscle function, to loss of sensation, paralysis, breathing problems, and difficulty controlling your bowel and bladder. The physical and emotional challenges of the illness can feel overwhelming.
If you or a loved one has experienced a spinal cord injury, rehabilitation and specialized treatment is key to getting back to leading a productive, independent life. Our comprehensive rehabilitation, education and support can help you and your family begin to cope and eventually thrive
What it is
We provide services for all stages of recovery from a spinal cord injury, including inpatient care, outpatient rehabilitation and lifelong follow-up.
Our spinal cord injury rehabilitation specialists work with you and your family to develop a plan of care to help you regain as much independence as possible.
What to expect
Following a spinal cord injury, you and your family are the most important part of the rehabilitation team. Your input is crucial in setting and achieving goals, organizing family conferences and creating discharge plans.
In some circumstances, your physician may recommend comprehensive rehabilitation while you’re still in the hospital.
The therapy you undergo depends on the specifics of your injury, but can include learning how to perform everyday activities and receiving counseling to help with emotional adjustment.
Outpatient therapies can be beneficial regardless of whether a spinal cord injury is recent or occurred years earlier. Our therapies are tailored to your needs and goals. The care team works with you to:
- address your needs using a variety of coordinated therapy services
- design a plan of care based on physician's orders, therapist's recommendations and your needs and goals
- determine a timeline of care
Some of our therapies include:
- intensive fitness
- self-care education
- physical therapy
- occupational therapy
In addition to doctors, therapists and nurses, your care team may include care navigators, chaplains, chemical dependency counselors, equipment specialists, nutritionists and social workers based on your needs.
Follow-up care for a spinal cord injury can help you avoid common, general health complications.
An initial follow-up visit consists of:
- a six-hour therapy evaluation
- a comprehensive examination by your physician and discussion
The therapy evaluation is typically scheduled one to two weeks before the comprehensive examination by your physician. You will meet with an occupational therapist, physical therapist, psychologist, social worker and therapeutic recreation specialist.
Topics you’ll cover with your team include:
- aging-related changes
- community resource options
- equipment needs to improve self-care and mobility
- financial resources
- life-long care plans which estimate medical and non-medical needs over a lifetime
- psycho-social needs
- therapy needs or interventions to help achieve better health and independence
- vocational status and needs
- wellness (including weight management), leisure and exercise options
Comprehensive examination by your physician
Some of the topics you and your doctor will talk about during this appointment include:
- bowel and bladder management
- community and financial resources
- general health and wellness check
- joint health
- neurological classification changes
- skin care management
- wheelchair positioning
At the end of this full day, you will meet with your rehabilitation provider for a final comprehensive medical exam and discussion.
Topics can include:
- results of diagnostic lab and imaging tests
- results and recommendations from the therapy evaluation
- prescription updates or changes
- pain management
- orders or referrals for additional testing or equipment
- referral to the nurse clinician for any final educational needs identified by the doctor or therapy team
Subsequent visits involve a shortened therapy day and examination by your physician. Together we’ll discuss findings and recommendations and share them with your other physicians, caregivers or other stakeholders, as you request.
Good to know
Good for treating
- Traumatic or non-traumatic injuries to the spinal cord
Source: Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
Reviewed by: Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute staff
First published: 8/30/2018
Last reviewed: 8/1/2018