Spinal Cord Program

Our program's goal is to provide patients with the tools necessary to reach the highest level of independent function and return them to a fulfilling and productive life. We specialize in treatment of traumatic and non-traumatic spinal cord dysfunction, as well as treatment of patients with paralysis due to illnesses such as Guillian Barre syndrome, transverse mylitis, and multiple sclerosis.

About our program

Memorial's inpatient spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation program is an interdisciplinary treatment program for people recovering from an SCI. To address the many life changes brought about by SCI, we've designed an intensive treatment program focusing on the patient and the family.

Significant physical, emotional and sometimes cognitive changes are observed in the weeks following an SCI. Our focus is to train the patient to resume basic functions of daily living. We emphasize techniques for bathing, dressing, grooming, feeding, toileting and mobility including wheelchair skills and walking when appropriate.

Our program is individualized to a person's needs including three to five hours of therapy each day. Activities may include home evaluations, community reintegration outings, peer support groups, bi-weekly educational classes and peer mentors. Rehabilitation of SCI centers around an atmosphere of regaining control over one's life. With this focus, once patients have been educated and cleared for certain activities in preparation for discharge home, they are given the responsibility for these activities. Examples would include independently completing flexibility exercises or dressing themselves.

Technology and evidenced-based practice are used to ensure treatment models are up-to-date and incorporate the latest advances in spinal cord research to maximize functional return. Some examples are a partial body weight support system, lite gait, electrical stimulation including Bioness L-300 and H200, standing frames, specialty wheelchairs, and the Proprioceptor 4000.

Family members are encouraged and welcome to participate in the rehabilitation process. The SCI Rehabilitation Program provides support, education, training and resource referrals when appropriate. Staff members also offer strategies to family members for assisting the patient's progress and transition to home.

Improvement following an SCI is varied and depends largely on the specific type of injury sustained. The physician and therapists will help the patient understand the diagnosis and prognosis for recovery, maximizing this potential while here. Recovery can take place for many months. To meet these needs, Memorial provides outpatient rehab services and works in cooperation with home health agencies to make home therapy service available. We coordinate with other facilities that may be closer to home and with appropriate state agencies to help patients and families receive the services they need.

Frequently asked questions about spinal cord injuries.