Picking an acute rehabilitation facility is the toughest part in the SCI journey and usually during this time, you’re not full aware of what’s going on… When dealing with acute spinal cord injury treatment of your loved one, having a great rehabilitation team on your side makes all the difference. When looking for a treatment center, make sure you ask lots of questions such as:
1. Do they accept patients on a vent? Do they have a treatment plan to get them off of a vent, if possible?
2. Do they accept your insurance? If not, do they have payment plans, any type of aid? Can they help you get monetary aid?
3. Will you have a case worker to help you?
4. Will you be involved with treatment and training? Will you receive all the training you need as a caregiver?
5. What will you need to bring for your loved one and yourself?
6. Where will you stay while your loved one is in rehab? Will you need to pay for it?
7. Will you need transportation?
8. How will you get there with your loved one? How will you both get home?
9. Do you need to bring all the patient records? Will they be sent there?
10. Do they have a program to help you move home and re-enter your life?
11. Can I speak with other patients and their families before we make a decision?
12. How many beds does your facility have?
13. Who will be on his treatment team? Who will be involved with his treatment?
14. Can my family/friends be involved?
These are just a few questions that you should ask. The best advice is to take someone with you when speaking with SCI facilities or the medical staff about treatment options. At that point, you’ll be so shell shocked that you may not remember to ask all the questions you want to ask (or, like me, ask any questions at all…) and the person with you can take notes. ALWAYS TAKE NOTES. That way, if someone cannot go with you, you can remember what you talked about with the doctors.
The decision is tough… Some facilities are far from home. We went 1200 miles away from home and only saw a few loved ones and friends during the 3 months that we were away. Lots of things went into our decision such as cost, treatment plans available and getting the care that my husband needed. He was on a vent when we left which aided in the decision making process since some facilities do not take vent-dependent patients. Some just are not equipped for them…
There is no way you can fully be prepared but if you can do all you can before you leave, it will help you in the long run. Ask questions! NO question is stupid especially when it comes to your loved one’s treatment.
A list of a few acute rehabilitation facilities in the states:
Spaulding Rehabilitation Network in Boston, MA
Shepherd Center in Atlanta, GA
Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in New Jersey
Magee Rehabilitation in Philadelphia, PA
Some chronic rehabilitation facilities for further treatment and rehab:
NextSteps Chicago in Willow Springs, IL
Journey Forward in Canton, MA