Rehabilitation (rehab) for a
spinal cord injury (SCI) is typically done in a
special center. You and your family work with a rehab team, a group of health
professionals that designs a unique plan for your recovery. This plan will help
you recover as much function as possible, prevent complications, and help you
live as independently as possible. The team includes your doctor and a rehab
nurse, plus specialists such as
The rehab center should be able to meet your special needs. Research
the center keeping this in mind, and ask questions about its staff,
accreditation, equipment, activities, programs, and how it transitions you back
into your community.
Does your center treat only those with an SCI,
or others as well? If it treats others, are people with an SCI kept in the same
or different areas?
What can you tell me about the patients in your
center? Are they older or younger? Male or female? Do most of them have a
specific level of injury? What is it?
How many SCIs do you treat in
Is your center certified by the Commission on Accreditation
of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of
Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)? Has it been designated as a Model Spinal Cord
Injury Center by the National Institute of Disability Research and
Does your rehab plan have both short- and
Does your center encourage family members of all
ages to participate in rehab programs?
Are there living
arrangements for family members participating in training?
counseling and other social services available to family
Could I speak to someone who has gone through your
Does your regular staff have training in
Do you have trained SCI specialists/therapists? In what
areas? (Important areas include physical, occupational, speech-language, and
recreational therapies; counseling; and social work.)
What kind of
and how much experience do your specialists/therapists have?
many people is each specialist/therapist presently caring for?
is your director and what is his or her background?
Activities and transition into the community
How often and for how long each day will I
receive specialist treatment? (Treatment should be no less then 3 hours a
day, 5 days a week.)
How much training will my family and I
receive on sexuality, bowel and bladder care, skin care, and essential
Do you hold weekend and evening
Do you have a facility available where my family and I
can practice self-care skills?
Do you offer training in the
management and hiring of personal care assistants?
How will you
plan my discharge and transition into the community? Who do you work with in
If I don't live in the community where the center
is, how will my transition be planned?
Will I receive self-care
materials when I leave the center?
After I leave, will I have a
contact person at the center for questions or emergencies?
someone make recommendations as to how I may need to modify my
Will you provide a follow-up plan? What will it include?
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.