Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation

What is Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation?

Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is perhaps the most devastating orthopedic injury, and with prolonged survival being the rule, rehabilitation of these injuries has an increasingly important role. The primary goals of rehabilitation are prevention of secondary complications, maximization of physical functioning, and reintegration into the community.

Rehabilitation following SCI is most effectively undertaken with a multidisciplinary, team-based approach, as follows:

  • Physical therapists typically focus on lower extremity function and on difficulties with mobility
  • Occupational therapists address upper extremity dysfunction and difficulties in activities of daily living
  • Rehabilitation nurses are concerned with the issues of bowel and bladder dysfunction and the management of pressure ulcers
  • Psychologists deal with the emotional and behavioral concerns of the newly injured patient and with any potential cognitive dysfunction
  • Speech-language pathologists address with issues of communication and swallowing
  • Case managers and social workers are the primary interface between the rehabilitation team, the patient and his or her family, and the payer source
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