Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
There is life after spinal cord injury. We'll help you get there.
When potentially life-altering injury occurs, coordinated, compassionate care and the support of clinicians dedicated to pioneering improved therapies can make all the difference to a patient’s immediate and long-term recovery. Within Spaulding Rehabilitation Network, supporting the patient’s return to an active, productive and fulfilling life is the goal of everything we do.
The hub of our SCI program is the Spaulding-Harvard Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SCIMS) Rehabilitation Program, led by SCI experts at Spaulding Boston, a Center of Excellence in SCI rehabilitation. With the guidance of our physicians and other rehabilitation specialists and access to some of the most advanced technologies available today, our patients have the resources to strive for their highest level of neurorecovery – and to develop successful, enriching strategies for independent living.
Advanced Spinal Cord Injury Care
Whether the spinal cord injury is due to traumatic injury or illness, our team of experts will develop a treatment plan in collaboration with the patient and family. Depending on the severity of the injury, our teams work on improving function in: walking, balance and mobility; speech, swallowing and breathing; thinking (cognition), behavior and safety; dressing, bathing and other activities of daily living; incontinence, bowel and bladder function.
Our commitment is to offer a full spectrum of rehabilitation services for adults and children with SCI:
- Intensive, hospital-level rehabilitation with goal-directed therapy 3 – 5 hours a day, at least 5 days a week for inpatients.
- Long-term care and rehabilitation for patients with complicating conditions.
- Ventilator program to wean patients off mechanical breathing support in preparation for transition to more intensive rehabilitation.
- Cutting-edge SCI technologies and therapeutic techniques.
- Emphasis on family participation throughout the course of care. with an inpatient comprehensive training and education series.
- Seamless transition to multi-disciplinary outpatient rehabilitation.
- Sports and Recreation Programs to promote fitness, develop skills, and facilitate involvement with community to “live beyond boundaries.”
- Coordination of care with Spaulding’s outpatient centers.
- Vocational training, participation in research, support groups.
Leadership and Innovation
As an SCI Model System, Spaulding Boston collaborates with other distinguished rehabilitation centers to conduct research, provide long-term follow-up care to patients, contribute to a national database, and educate patients, families, health care professionals and the community about SCI. The Model System designation and related grants are awarded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in five year cycles using an extremely selective process.
Spaulding’s use of cutting-edge technologies and therapies is based on our evolving understanding of the science of neuroplasticity. As a result, our patients receive advanced spinal cord injury care:
- Robot-assisted therapies, innovative technologies such as Armeo, Bioness, Erigo, Esko Lokomat.
- CARF-accredited SCI Program for Adults, Adolescents/Children.
The core interdisciplinary inpatient team of physicians, nurses, therapists and case managers may be joined by psychologists, community resource specialists, social workers and vocational rehabilitation counselors. The Spaulding-Harvard SCI Model System staff works closely with the clinical team and is available to all patients with SCI throughout rehabilitation – and for life. In addition, many of our clinicians have advanced certification as clinical specialists in SCI rehabilitation.
Kevin O’Connor, M.D., Medical Director SCI Program
Spaulding is engaged in ongoing research to improve the lives of those with paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury. Our efforts are two-fold:
- Finding and developing best practices in rehabilitation strategies
- Preventing long-term complications related to paralysis
Currently seven studies are underway investigating pain control via transcranial direct current stimulation, benefits of FES rowing, bone loss and fracture risk. Research details here.