Spinal Cord Injury: Finding a Rehab Center
Rehabilitation (rehab) for an 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.
The rehab center should be able to meet your special needs. Keep this in mind as you decide about a rehab center. You can ask questions about its staff, accreditation, equipment, activities, programs, and how it transitions you back into your community. Here are some questions you may ask.
- Does your center treat only those with an SCI? If it treats others, are people with an SCI kept in different areas?
- What can you tell me about the patients in your center, such as their ages? Do most of them have a specific level of injury?
- How many SCIs do you treat in a year?
- Is your center certified by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) or the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO)?
- Has your center been designated as a Model Spinal Cord Injury Center by the National Institute of Disability Research and Rehabilitation (NIDRR)?
- Does your rehab plan have both short- and long-term goals?
- Does your center encourage family members of all ages to participate in rehab programs?
- Are there living arrangements for family members participating in training?
- Are counseling and other social services available to family members?
- Could I speak to someone who has gone through your program?
Questions about staff
- Does your regular staff have training in SCIs?
- 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?
- How many people is each specialist/therapist presently caring for?
- Who is your director and what is their background?
Questions about activities and transition into the community
- How often and for how long each day will I receive specialist treatment?
- How much training will my family and I receive on sexuality, bowel and bladder care, skin care, and essential self-care activities?
- Do you hold weekend and evening activities?
- 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 the community?
- 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?
- Will someone make recommendations as to how I may need to modify my home?
- Will you provide a follow-up plan? What will it include?