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Spinal Cord Injury Program

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Mission

The intensive spinal cord injury
program at NRH is designed to provide physical
rehabilitation in a highly stimulating and
educational environment. Through daily practice,
ongoing education, peer interaction, emotional
support counseling, and other therapeutic resources,
patients learn to manage their own mobility and daily
self-care needs as they move toward community
reintegration.

Program Philosophy

Our Spinal Cord Injury Program has
been established to serve as a comprehensive
community resource for individuals with spinal cord
injury. Patients admitted to this program may have
neurological deficits from either a traumatic or
non-traumatic insult to the spinal cord. The level of
deficits may range from weakness to complete
paralysis. Spinal cord injured individuals present
with a number of unique needs which will have an
impact upon many areas of their lives. The NRH Spinal
Cord Injury Program meets the challenge of providing
the individualized and comprehensive care which will
address these needs.

The principle component of the
Spinal Cord Injury Program is the interdisciplinary
team. The focal member of this team is the individual
with a spinal cord injury. The patient will be active
in establishing a personalized set of goals for
rehabilitation utilizing the expertise and the
guidance of all primary interdisciplinary team
members. The team is skilled in working with the
patient on such issues as self care, mobility, bowel
and bladder function, sexuality, accessibility and
many others. The ultimate goal of the SCI Team is to
provide the spinal cord injured patient with the
environment, tools and resources to attain maximum
independence.

Community re-integration is an
important aspect of the NRH Spinal Cord Injury
Program and begins long before discharge. Community
out-trips, with patients accompanied by professional
staff members and other spinal cord injured peers,
begin as soon as the patient has the appropriate
endurance and is medically stable. Community
reintegration involves challenging individuals to
become assertive in evaluating accessibility and
problem solving of physical and emotional obstacles.
These early out-trips are also vital in
re-establishing self confidence and a positive self
image and view of the future.

Services provided through the
spinal cord injury program include, but certainly are
not limited to an education series, and a weekly
support group, peer support, community out-trips,
aquatics, functional electrical stimulation and
various clinics including a mandatory follow-up
clinic.

In summary, Northeast
Rehabilitation Hospital’s Spinal Cord Injury Program
seeks to provide an individual with a spinal cord
injury and his/her family with a highly stimulating
and educational environment. Within this environment,
the individual will learn to become his/her own
"program manager." Through daily practice,
ongoing education, peer interaction and community
reintegration, the individual will learn to manage
his/her own mobility and daily self-care needs.
Additionally, through emotional support, counseling
and the provision of many resources, the individual
will acquire the confidence to pursue a life of
active participation within the family, the community
and the work force.

Program Features

There is an emphasis in the spinal
cord injury program on community reentry, including
community out-trips, guidance of home modification,
and exploration of adaptive equipment for driving.
Intensive recreational training encourages patients
to once again enjoy existing avocational activities
and to explore new ones.

Therapies within the spinal cord
injury rehabilitation program utilize the science of
rehabilitation engineering in the development and
application of orthotics, adaptive equipment, and
specialized wheelchairs. In addition, the program
includes a thorough educational component, utilizing
comprehensive teaching manuals to explain medical
issues sometimes associated with spinal cord injury,
such as autonomic dysreflexia and orthostatic hypotension.