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Spinal Cord Rehabilitation
As one of the country's largest and most respected acute rehabilitation
hospitals, Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital has helped hundreds of individuals
with spinal cord injuries and disorders make incredible strides in their
lives. Our team of
physicians—physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapists,
nurses, registered dietitians and more—provide innovative care in both
the inpatient and outpatient setting.
Hear Andrew's story:
Spinal Rehab: Our Approach
Because every patient with a spinal cord injury or disorder is
different, we provide a range of spinal rehab options based on medical
status and lifestyle needs. Our spine rehabilitation inpatients come to
us with extremely severe injuries but leave with remarkable recoveries.
This progress is not only due to our protocol of three hours of
intensive therapy a minimum of five out of seven days a week to
prevent the complications of prolonged bed rest, but also our creative
approach to developing those therapies around what motivates
each patient most.
For example, since restoring balance is a critical skill to relearn,
we’ve utilized the unique demands of a kayak in our
warm-water pool to develop core strength and right-to-left stability. As
skills improve, the therapies increase in complexity.
By building on even the smallest movement, we begin to improve
self-reliance and overall health and wellness. Our therapists provide
patients with exercises for improved breathing, strength, flexibility
and movement, and teach new strategies for performing activities of
daily living, intended to optimize patients’ returns to their
communities. Typically, patients require an inpatient stay of about
three weeks, although length of time can vary greatly from person to
Our patients with spinal cord injury range in age from 16–95; we accept
patients under 18 years old after careful review. The average age is 59.
Patients are admitted to our inpatient program for diagnosis including:
a motor vehicle or other accident
Guillain-Barré Syndrome or other degenerative spinal conditions
Following their inpatient stay at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, the vast
majority of these patients go on to Neurologic
Day Treatment, outpatient therapy or home-based therapies to
continue their rehabilitation. We also offer patients a lifetime
follow-up program to provide ongoing assessment by a physician, nurse
and therapist as needed. And our approach works—92% of inpatients reach
their goals upon discharge and 83% of outpatients meet theirs.
To maximize independence during the inpatient stay, our spinal cord
disorders unit is specially equipped with helpful amenities like
easy-access specialty beds, mechanical equipment and assistive devices.
Specially trained neurological physicians, nurses, pharmacists,
therapists, case managers and psychologists collaborate on a
cross-practice work plan to establish and accomplish realistic goals.
Our devoted inpatient care for spinal cord patients includes:
24-hour care from physicians and nurses specially trained in
a specialized therapy gym that facilitates close team
observation room for patients with behavioral difficulties that
helps to develop their independence with close staff supervision
the Lokomat body suspension mobility rehabilitator, to help
patients begin walking again
Smart Balance Master® interactive balance training system
an Independent Living Unit that allows patients to learn
functional activities using real furniture and appliances and
has an environmental control unit
With their therapists, patients work to build strength, conditioning,
range of motion, balance and coordination. Daily therapy sessions target
postural training, sitting or standing tolerance, wheelchair skills,
gait training and transfer training. Other treatments such as hot packs,
ultrasound or electrical stimulation may be used to relieve discomfort.
Psychologists provide support and counseling to promote family
relationships and adjustment. Throughout every patient’s stay, the
care team meets to review progress, identify barriers to
independence and create solutions tailored to that patient, working
toward the goal of maximum independence.
Patients with a spinal cord injury or disorder have access to the
following rehabilitation services:
At the end of a rehab stay, a discharge summary is sent by the patient’s
rehabilitation physician to the patient’s primary care doctor to ensure
a complete continuum of care.
Many individuals need ongoing support after inpatient rehab. At our
Comprehensive Outpatient Neurorehab Center, patients can participate in
our Neurologic Day Program,
an outpatient spinal cord rehab program that offers a variety of rehab
services with a full or half day option. Support groups and vocational
rehabilitation are also available, so patients can return to their
communities with as much independence as possible.
Therapies and rehabilitation services available through the Neurologic
Day Program include:
For the best results possible, we allow and encourage family members to
actively participate in the rehabilitation process. This can be a great
support for the patient, as well as an ideal chance for family to get
the education and training they need for life after Bryn Mawr Rehab
Hospital. Family members can participate in daily therapy sessions and
spend time with their loved one in the Independent Living Units which
allow patients to learn functional activities necessary for their
transition home. If needed, family members can request a family meeting
with the care team. Additionally, we offer on-site
family accommodations for those traveling from great distances.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.