Follow-up Medical Care After Spinal Cord Injury
Follow-up with a spinal cord injury (SCI) expert is important throughout your lifetime. Your spinal cord injury physician knows about your specific injury and all of the problems that you may have experienced related to your injury.
All persons with spinal cord injury should plan to follow-up with a spinal cord injury physician in the first few weeks after being discharged from the hospital. This includes:
- Patients with new spinal cord injuries.
- Patients who have been discharged to another facility.
After a new spinal cord injury, it is often important to see a SCI specialist in clinic every few months. Over time, it may only be necessary to see your spinal cord injury physician once a year.
Anytime you are discharged from the hospital or are seen in an outpatient clinic, it is important to save any discharge instructions to reference at home. This information should also be shared with your primary care physician, personal care assistants, caregivers, therapists, or any other healthcare worker who is involved in your care. The more information that is shared between your health care team, the better they are able to help you.
Spinal Cord Injury Physicians at UPMC
The spinal cord injury physicians at UPMC Rehabilitation Institute are all fellowship-trained in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine, after completing residencies in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Patients can seek ongoing care through our outpatient spinal cord injury clinic at UPMC Mercy. Our team:
- Is specialty trained to treat persons with SCI.
- Can make referrals to outpatient therapy programs with expertise in treating spinal cord injury.
- Welcomes contact with you, your caregivers, your family, or other health care providers so that we can collaborate on your care.
- Can act as the central point of contact for any concerns related to your spinal cord injury healthcare.
- Help patients who live outside of Pittsburgh find primary care, spinal cord injury medicine, and therapy follow-up.
Outpatient Physical and Occupational Therapy
After spinal cord injury, it is often important to continue physical and occupational therapy after leaving the hospital. Home health care can be an easy way to access therapy after SCI; however, there can be limitations to what home care therapists can do in your home.
It is recommended that patients with SCI transition to outpatient therapy as soon as possible, and that they receive treatment at an outpatient rehabilitation site where the therapists have knowledge about, and experience with, spinal cord injury. Our spinal cord clinic at UPMC Mercy can make referrals to outpatient therapy programs with expertise in treating spinal cord injury.