Putting ability back into rehabilitation

Picking the right rehabilitation centre for post-SCI therapy can be daunting. Here are a few important things to consider.

After a spinal cord injury (SCI), surgery and often a lengthy hospital stay, SCI patients need proper training to become an able, independent wheelchair user. The right rehabilitation centre with the appropriate training facilities for the wheelchair user’s specific needs could help them get back to an active lifestyle.

However, there are a few noteworthy features to look for when considering rehabilitation centres.

Ratio of caregivers to patients

Not all SCI patients require the same amount of attention and care; however, it is always important to ensure that there are enough caregivers at the facility to assist the patient.

What programmes are on offer?

As each injury is different, the rehabilitation appropriate to the injury will vary.

Adele Steenkamp, marketing and clinical standards specialist at Life Healthcare, notes: “After consultation with the patient and their family, the rehabilitation team will assist with setting realistic and achievable goals with the correct intensity of intervention.

“The rehabilitation programme should include, but is not limited to, individual therapy sessions; seating and early mobilisation training sessions; group therapy sessions and education.”

The patient should be very involved in daily activities such as bathing and dressing. Frequent assessments should be made to assist the patient in choosing the correct assistive devices.

Is there any special equipment?

While it is not a requirement, specialised equipment can assist in a wheelchair user’s rehabilitation. Steenkamp explains: “Facilities at Life Healthcare are custom built and host a wide range of specialised equipment, such as aquatic therapy pools and gait support systems – such as a tilt table used for postural support and weight bearing.”

She adds that the list of equipment is broad and is determined on a case-by-case basis. It is important that the family and friends be encouraged to become involved in the patient’s recovery. With the right facility and the support of loved ones, the patient will soon be mobile and ready to embrace life!

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