Recovering from a brain or spinal cord injury is a complex process with many steps. And one of the most important steps is finding the right rehabilitation center. The quality and type of care the survivor receives will have a significant impact on the rare of recovery, the ability of the survivor to reintegrate into society and work, and the long-term outcome. By following three steps, the patient and his or her loved ones can ensure the right rehabilitation facility is found.
Step One: Examine the Staff
Questions the patient or his or her loved ones should ask when examining the staff should include:
- What are the credentials of the doctor in charge, and does he or she specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation?
- Is there physician coverage seven days a week, 24 hours per day?
- Who will coordinate treatment and act as a conduit between the treatment team and family?
Step Two: Examine the Facilities
Questions the patient or his or her loved ones should ask when examining the facilities should include:
- Is the program accredited by the Commission of the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, or the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations?
- Is the current population similar in age and sex to the person considering entry?
- Do patients have similar levels and types of injuries?
- Does the center have special facilities, such as kitchens and laundry rooms, designed to help the patient learn living skills?
Step Three: Assess Program Elements
Questions the patient or his or her loved ones should ask when assessing program elements should include:
- Does the patient receive treatment for at least three hours per day?
- Is rehabilitation nursing and respiratory care available on a 24-hour basis?
- Are specialties such as driver education, rehabilitation engineering, and therapeutic recreation available?
- Are weekend and evening activities available for residents?
- Does the program include family and other loved ones in the care and rehabilitation of the survivor?