Hearing that a loved one has been in an accident is difficult. Learning that the person is paralyzed or has other limitations because of a spinal cord injury turns a difficult situation into a tragic one. You may need to help your loved one find a rehabilitation center that will help him or her learn to adapt to the injury and re-learn certain life skills.
Choosing a rehabilitation center should not be a hasty or off-hand decision. Here are a few important considerations to help with this important choice:
Insurance coverage and finances
Many of the best spinal cord injury rehabilitation centers might be expensive. Finding out what insurance coverage is available for the program can help to narrow down the centers to those that will take the policy. If there isn't insurance or if you are going to have to cover a considerable amount of the cost out-of-pocket, you need to be realistic about what you can afford. Seeking compensation for the accident that caused the injury might even help to cover costs of getting the program paid for.
Scope of the program
Even though a center focuses on spinal cord injury rehabilitation, that doesn't mean that the program is the right one for your loved one. Think about the scope of the program. For example, a program based on helping patients to learn how to be independent in a wheelchair might not be appropriate for a person who is paralyzed from the neck down and will always need a high level of constant care.
Capabilities of the center
The capabilities of the center matter greatly in these cases. Some rehab programs are meant only for people who aren't dependent on a ventilator. If your loved one is on a ventilator and will leave the hospital on one, you need to find a rehab center that can help with that. Find out if the staff members are experienced in the type of care that your loved one will need. You don't want your loved one to come to more harm in the facility, or to be frustrated because the rehabilitation is too rigorous or ambitious. At the other extreme, your family member won't progress in a program that is ill-equipped or too easygoing.
It might be difficult to think about having to place your loved one in a rehabilitation center. However, this is an important step in the healing process after a spinal trauma or other catastrophic injury. The professionals at the center should help your loved one to learn what he or she is able to do on one's own, including helping learn how to adapt to challenges when possible.