Spinal Cord injury rehab patient assessments

  1. Hi everyone. I'm a nursing student and I found out yesterday that I was assigned to do my clinicals at a Spinal Cord Rehab unit of a hospital. I have never been to a rehab unit ever in my entire 3 years in nursing school and have no idea what kind of assessments you do for patients in a rehab unit. I did research last night but aside from neuro assessments I'm still clueless as to what I need to do for the patients.

    Can anyone please enlighten me? I'm guessing since it's a Rehab unit it's an outpatient right? So what kinds of assessments are necessary for spinal cord injury patients? Is there a universal assessment tool available that all hospitals use? I need to make a time management tool but I'm having trouble making one since i dont know what you do in a rehab unit.
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    Joined: Oct '10; Posts: 34; Likes: 7


  3. by   liveyourlife747
    Just do a basic assessment on them, focus on their neuro areas that are affected: legs, arms, etc. Also know the level of the injury, that will help you to focus your assessments as well. High level injuries will result in bowel/bladder issues that you could focus on as well.

    If its a hospital rehab, the patients stay there to get specialized rehabilitation until they are stable enough to go home or to a LTC. They will focus on PT, OT, and ST as needed.
  4. by   nurseprnRN
    It might very well be an inpatient unit. Acute spinal injury usually leaves acute care for acute inpatient rehab in a short time frame, sometimes as soon as a week if there are no other associated injuries. Acute rehab is for people who are capable of doing 3-5 hours of therapies per day, 6 days a week, so there's a lot going on.

    You can check these websites for a few places to get your bearings about SCI-- the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) and the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) have great tools, charts, and info for patient and family teaching, which will be useful to you.

    Craig Hospital in CO and Shepherd Hospital in GA are some of the best national centers for SCI in the world, so check their websites. PM me if I can help, too.

    You are so lucky! You will have awesome experiences there. Your faculty must really like you!
  5. by   nursingstudent_2012
    Thank you so much. I was thinking Neuro and musculoskeletal would be the main focus. But reading about SCI a little more, I realized there are a lot of other important things that I need to focus on.
  6. by   nursingstudent_2012
    Thanks for the clarification. That makes sense. And thank you for the suggestions. I found several useful tools from ASIA and am planning to explore both websites. I'll also check out Craig and Shepherd Hospitals' websites.

    Honestly IDK what to expect so I'm nervous. I'm so used to being in a regular unit like Med-Surg and Cardiac CU. So when I heard Rehab I automatically thought "what's the difference?"
  7. by   mom2cka
    Can you ask to see their standards of practice so you can 'prep' before you start? Our standards discuss bowel programs, turns, skin care, patient education needs, etc. We're an acute inpatient rehab - rehabnurse.org has good info too and CAT tests that you can take (for free) that can help guide you to some of the expectations of a rehab nurse
  8. by   nursingstudent_2012
    I will ask my preceptor that. Thank you so much. That's a really good suggestion.