When it comes to spinal cord rehabilitation, each and every professional a brain or spinal cord injury survivor works with has an importantÃ¢â‚¬’yet specializedÃ¢â‚¬’job to perform. Generally speaking, the survivor will work with three teams. These are the medical team, the therapist team, and the support team.
The Medical Team
The neurosurgeon or orthopedic spine surgeon heads up the medical team. He or she is responsible for managing acute care immediately following the injury, as well as for coming up with a game plan regarding long-term rehabilitation and care. Other specialists on the medical team might include a physiatrist, a rehabilitation nurse, a dietician, and a psychologist. Each person has their own set of responsibilities as they pertain to the survivor’s medical care.
The Therapist Team
The therapist team will work with the survivor during the rehabilitation phase to return the survivor to the highest level of function possible. The Physical therapist will help the survivor reach maximum range of motion, endurance, and strength. He or she will also help the survivor deal with the process of finding a wheelchair, as well as learning transfer to it, sit in it, and operate it. Others on the Therapist team might include an occupational therapist, a speech therapist, a recreational therapist, and a respiratory therapist.
The Support Team
The final team is the support team. This team is made up of a variety of specialists who will help the survivor navigate life post spinal cord injury. A social worker will help the survivor deal with things like finances, relationships, and lifestyle changes, while a case manager will act as a liaison between the survivor and insurance companies. A vocational counselor will help the survivor with work options, while a rehabilitation engineer will design assistive aids that can be used by the survivor.
When it comes to treatment, from the acute phase through rehabilitation, the people on your team will determine the success of your long-term outcome.