How can I locate a treatment center?
After a person’s condition has stabilized after a spinal cord injury, individuals will be sent to a rehabilitation center.
While the closest facility may be the most accessible and provide many benefits in terms of family and friend support, it may not offer the quality of treatment required in the case of a severe accident & condition.
Choosing the best rehabilitation center for your spinal cord injury is critical to obtaining individualized treatment that will help you heal as quickly as possible.
When looking for a rehabilitation clinic, some of the most crucial questions to ask are:
- Has the facility dealt with a similar diagnosis or condition before?
- How many patients per year does the facility see with the relevant illness or condition?
- Is the patient prepared to travel or even be away from their family for an extended period?
- Are there any cutting-edge therapies available at the facility?
- Is the facility suitable for people of a certain age?
- What is the patient-to-staff ratio?
- Is the facility accredited, for example, does it satisfy professional care criteria for your particular needs?
When looking for an approved facility, use the resources listed below.
Centers for the Modeling of Spinal Cord Injuries
In the United States, 14 Spinal Cord Injury Simulation Model Centers are funded by the National Institute for Disability, Independent Living & Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).
SCI Model System Centers are heads of government in medical research & patient treatment, offering a full range of services from injury through rehabilitation into society.
Alabama, Georgia, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington are now home to these facilities.
Each Center participates in the SCI Model System Data Center, engages in independently and collaboratively research, and disseminates resources and information to people with SCI, their families & careers, healthcare professionals & the general public.
The Commission on Accreditation for Rehabilitation-Facilities is a non-profit organization that accredits rehabilitation (CARF)
Another place to look for licensed rehabilitation institutions is the Commission on Certification of Rehabilitation-Facilities (CARF). A facility should pass an in-depth examination of its services to receive CARF certification.
There is a distinction between such a general CARF certification and one particular to spinal cord injury; therefore, use the contact information below to get a list of spinal injury accredited clinics.
Centers for pediatric rehabilitation
While your child’s age will influence which rehabilitation clinics are appropriate for them, there seem to be several outstanding programs explicitly designed for children. Make sure to ask questions & consult resources as a parent.
- The University of Louisville’s Kosair Charities Centre for Pediatric NeuroRecovery provides activity-based therapy and performs translational research. They are dedicated to meeting the changing difficulties of development and growth from childhood to adolescence with an expert multidisciplinary staff.
- Shriners Center for Children was the first healthcare institution to establish spinal-cord injury rehabilitation units for children. Their revolutionary research has resulted in cutting-edge treatment methods, allowing children to live a whole, active, and healthy life.
For kids with impaired function due to various reasons like brain damage and spinal cord injury, the Kennedy Krieger Child Rehabilitation Unit provides comprehensive and interdisciplinary therapy, evaluation, and follow-up services.
Getting to know the people on your rehab team
Another essential feature of excellent rehabilitation is the number and quality of professional professionals on hand. On a rehabilitation team, you may expect to see the following professionals:
A doctor who specializes in medical discipline is known as a physiatrist. Physiatrists treat anything from aching shoulders to spinal injuries, as well as acute or chronic pain or musculoskeletal illnesses.
Patients with spinal injuries, cancer, strokes or other neurological illnesses, brain injuries, amputations, and multiple sclerosis have their long-term rehabilitation coordinated by physiatrists.
A nurse specializing in rehabilitation
Nurses who have received specific training in rehabilitative or restorative concepts collaborate with the rest of the rehab team to address difficulties & manage complex medical conditions.
Rehabilitation nurses are knowledgeable with bladder, bowel, food, pain, functional status, breathing, self-care, medication regimen coordination, and other relevant topics. They educate patients and their families regularly, help them develop goals for independence, & create care plans to keep them healthy.
Rehabilitation nurses work with patients & their families as soon as an injury or chronic disease occurs, & they continue to assist them when they return home, to work, or to school.
Occupational therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on
An occupational therapist (OT) is trained to assist people in learning or relearning the skills they require to attain maximum independence. OTs provide therapeutic programs to help with bathing, dressing, cooking, housecleaning, arts & crafts, and gardening. They provide suggestions and provide adaptive equipment training to restore lost functions.
Occupational therapists also assess home and work situations and provide recommendations for changes. The healthcare professional also instructs family members & caregivers on caring for people safely and effectively. They also focus on the public outside of the hospital and strive to develop physical abilities.
Physical therapy is a type of treatment that is used
Physical therapists (PTs) help people with disabilities caused by the motor and sensory deficiencies. Their goal is to assist patients to achieve more control over bladder and bowel function, enhance coordination, reduce stiffness, maintain muscle in paralyzed limbs, prevent skin from pressure sores, and build strength and endurance.
Physical therapists also instruct patients on using assistive equipment such as wheelchairs, canes & braces. Physical therapists teach individuals how to take care of themselves and provide “hands-on” exercises and treatments.
PTs may also utilize ultrasonography, hot packs, and ice to work with joints and ensure their range of motion.
On the rehab unit, you should look for the following therapists:
- Recreation therapists assist people in learning about the many recreational opportunities available in their neighborhood.
- Vocational therapists assist persons in assessing their employment capabilities and obtaining equipment, training, and placement through the state vocational rehabilitation program or other organizations.
- Seating and positioning specialists are available at many rehab institutions to assist clients in selecting the optimum wheelchair, cushion, and positioning equipment.
- Rehab psychologists are available at most institutions to help people cope with the often-dramatic lifestyle changes that occur due to sickness or trauma.
- Most treatment programs include sex and family therapy to assist patients to understand the better sexual function, access to contraception, and other topics.
NeuroRecovery Network of the Reeve Foundation
After completing an introductory rehabilitation program, you might wish to look into alternative therapeutic options, such as the NeuroRecovery Network.
The NeuroRecovery Network (NRN) of the Reeve Foundation is a network of cutting-edge clinical institutions and community fitness and wellness facilities that serve persons with spinal cord injuries and other physical limitations.
Each facility is responsible for developing and, more significantly, delivering therapies that aid in rehabilitation and enhance the overall health of those who are paralyzed. The Reeve Foundation funds it via a partnership with Administering for Communal Living (ACL).
The NRN seeks to develop and extend access to activity-based treatments based on current scientific data. All NRN participants have had well-documented benefits ranging from enhanced health and quality of life to standing and walking.
Improvements in trunk control, stamina, walking speed, and balance lead to increased capacity to accomplish daily tasks and less reliance on caretakers. NRN participants also had improved autonomic functions such as cardiovascular, lung, and bladder function and higher bone density.
The NRN’s main treatment recommendation is locomotor training, which allows people with specific spinal cord injuries to experience standing and stepping with their own body weight. The participant is held in a harness above a treadmill during a treatment session, and specially trained therapists & technologists move their legs to imitate walking.
If you need additional information on identifying or choosing a rehabilitation center, our information specialists may be reached toll-free at 800-539-7309 between 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
In addition, the Reeve Foundation provides data sheets on selecting a treatment institution and other materials from reliable Reeve Foundation sources. Check out our collection of fact sheets on various subjects, from state resources to paralysis consequences. Restoring Hope: Planning for Rehab After Spinal Cord Injury is a pamphlet that you may download.